Twelve years ago, at the age of 30 Roland G. Fryer Jr. became the youngest African American to ever be awarded tenure at Harvard University. This past week, Dr. Fryer, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics and professor in the Graduate School of Education, was suspended without pay for the next two years. Multiple women who worked in his Education Innovation Laboratory had accused Professor Fryer of inappropriate sexual conduct at work that created a hostile work environment. As a result of his suspension, Harvard is closing the lab which will result in four workers losing their jobs.
After the two-year suspension, Dr. Fryer will be prohibited from supervisory roles but will be allowed to teach undergraduate and graduate courses. After two years, the university will decide if Dr. Fryer will have all his privileges restored.
Dr. Fryer has admitted to telling inappropriate jokes at work but denies he created a hostile working environment. In a statement, Professor Fryer said, “Harvard has spoken. In due course, I will as well.”
Professor Fryer has been on the faculty at Harvard since 2006. In 2011, he was awarded a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation.
A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, Professor Fryer holds a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.