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Evelynn M. Hammonds: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

Harvard University's Cultural Rhythms 2009 Featuring Dan Aykroyd

Evelynn Hammonds, has agreed to step down as the Dean of Harvard College, five years after she became the first black dean of the famed school. Hammonds is accused of conducting an Eric Holder-style email invasion of staff members, reports The Harvard Crimson.

Here’s what you need to know…

1. The Crimson Have Been Calling For Her Resignation Since April

The resignation has been a long-time coming, the Crimson have been calling for her resignation since April 2013. In April, Hammonds told staff that she had broken the college’s email privacy rules by accessing faculty emails in an attempt to discover who leaked information to the Harvard Crimson regarding a cheating scandal that occurred in April 2012.


2. At Least One Dean Feared For Her Job After the Illegal Search

In the fallout, Cabot House Resident Dean Emily W. Stokes-Rees, believed she was about to be “terminated,” as she was implicated as the whistle blower.


3. She Isn’t Leaving Harvard Completely

Hammonds has said she will take “sabbatical” having worked at Harvard continuously for the past 11 years. She will return to the school in a teaching capacity.


4. Harvard Called in Outside Lawyers to Investigate Their Policies

The scandal has led to a review of Harvard’s privacy policies.


5. Hammonds is an Education Tsar

She is a member of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges.


6. Hammonds is a Decorated Educator

She is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. The Harvard Gazette reports:

[She graduated with] a B.S. in physics from Spelman College and a B.E.E. in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech. She earned a master’s degree in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and started her career as a software engineer. She earned a Ph.D. at Harvard in the history of science, and then began her teaching career at MIT, where she was a founding director of MIT’s Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, Technology, and Medicine.


7. Hammonds Had a Significant Run as Dean

Among her achievements as Dean of Harvard, she expanded the scope for financial aid, adding to the diversity of the university, according to the Harvard Gazette.


8. She Came From Humble Beginnings

According to an online bio, the quote that Hammonds lives by is:

Keep your eyes on the prize.


9. She Has Highlighted Racism in Sports

She has spoken previously about how sports highlight racism. That when a black athlete is superior, there is traditionally talk about the differences between racial genes. She told PBS in 2003:

What is downplayed is the role of training, the role of discipline, the role of the will to win and all these other kinds of things that I think most athletes would say is critical to their capacity to be successful at a particular level.


10. She is Considered an Expert on How Aids Affect Black Women

She has written extensively on sexuality and how Aids affect black women.

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