Harvard College isn’t required to pay authorized protection charges for a professor who was discovered responsible of hiding his ties to a Chinese language-run recruitment program, Massachusetts’ highest courtroom dominated Monday.
In its choice, the Supreme Judicial Court docket discovered that Harvard was performing inside its “broad statutory authority” when it refused to offer upfront cost to cowl protection prices for Charles Lieber, a former chair of the varsity’s division of chemistry and chemical biology.
Lieber was discovered responsible in December of submitting false tax returns, making false statements and failing to file studies for a international checking account in China.
Prosecutors say Lieber lied to U.S. authorities to cover his involvement with China’s Thousand Abilities Plan, a program designed to recruit folks with data of international expertise and mental property to China. He was additionally accused of hiding revenue, together with $50,000 a month from a Chinese language college.
Lieber sued Harvard in October 2020 after the Ivy League college denied his request for advance cost to assist mount his authorized protection.
A Harvard coverage provides to pay protection prices for sure staff who face authorized motion in the middle of their work, however it offers college officers flexibility in deciding whether or not to grant the cash.
In Lieber’s case, Harvard concluded that a few of the allegations fell exterior the scope of his job. An official additionally discovered that Lieber had in all probability lied about his ties to China, which violated Harvard insurance policies, in keeping with the Supreme Judicial Court docket choice.
After a Superior Court docket choose sided with Harvard and denied Lieber’s request for rapid cost, Lieber appealed to the state’s highest courtroom. However Monday’s choice supported the sooner ruling and concluded that Harvard was inside its rights to reject Lieber’s request.
The courtroom cited a Massachusetts legislation that claims nonprofit organizations are “approved, however not required” to cowl authorized protection charges for staff.
“Harvard has taken that authority and adopted an indemnification coverage that affords it a good quantity of discretion in the case of guaranteeing determinations,” the courtroom discovered.
It added Lieber “failed altogether to determine that it violates public coverage.”
Harvard and a lawyer for Lieber didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
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