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Report: Harvard Divinity Dean Quits

May 19, 1999

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) _ Harvard Divinity School’s dean was forced to resign after pornography was found on his computer, The Boston Globe reported today.

Harvard University asked for Ronald F. Thiemann’s resignation last fall for ``conduct unbecoming a dean″ after the matter was brought to the attention of President Neil L. Rudenstine, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified Harvard sources.

``They agreed that it would be in the best interests of the divinity school for the dean to resign,″ Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn said.

The explicit material was allegedly found last fall after Thiemann requested more disk space on a school-owned computer at the office in his Harvard-owned residence, according to the Globe’s sources.

Thiemann allegedly asked the computer department to transfer the images to the new disk drive, the sources said.

Thiemann wouldn’t comment, the Globe said.

His lawyer, Charles Ogletree, declined to respond to the allegations but said a number of factors led to the resignation.

``The measure of a man like Ron Thiemann cannot be determined in response to allegations such as these but in the context of the admiration and respect he has gained from colleagues at the university, in the theological community and the secular community,″ Ogletree said.

Thiemann was dean of the divinity school for almost 13 years. His colleagues credited him with many accomplishments, including creation of the school’s Center for the Study of Values in Public Life. The center is designed to discuss values in fields such as law, journalism, business and medicine.

Thiemann remains a tenured faculty member and has taken a year’s sabbatical from that post. Wrinn said the university has not tried to revoke his tenure.

At the time of his resignation, Thiemann did not disclose reasons for his departure but told faculty members he was trying to cope with depression, the newspaper said.

``He said that he’d been ordered or strongly advised by his doctor to go on leave, to resign from the deanship and return as a teacher,″ said William Hutchinson, a Harvard professor.

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