WASHINGTON — A professor at The Catholic University of America has resigned as head of the university’s social work department, after a controversy followed his September tweets about sex-assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Will Rainford, dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service, a department of the university, will take a sabbatical during the 2019 spring semester and then return to teaching duties at the university.
Rainford has been dean of the social-work program since 2013. He was suspended in October after a series of tweets criticizing women who had accused Kavanaugh, then still a nominee to the court, of sexual assault. The Twitter handle used, @NCSSSDean, referred to Rainford’s role at the university.
“Rainford’s tweets of the past week are unacceptable,” CUA President John Garvey said in a Sept. 28 statement.
“We should expect any opinion he expresses about sexual assault to be thoughtful, constructive and reflective of the values of Catholic University, particularly in communications from the account handle @NCSSSDean.”
In a Nov. 21 statement accepting Rainford’s resignation as dean, Garvey praised “Dr. Rainford’s commitment to the Catholic mission of the school. Early on he made a particularly difficult decision to dissociate from the National Association of Social Workers, which advocates for access to abortion, a position that is contrary to the mission and values of The Catholic University of America.”
Garvey announced that in light of Rainford’s resignation, he “will order an environmental assessment to examine the current operations, direction and atmosphere of the school and address the challenge of maintaining a distinctly Catholic approach to the field of social work.”