Harvard University to Hire a Team of Trained Investigators to Deal With Sexual Misconduct Complaints

Harvard-logo_7Harvard University is one of 67 colleges and universities currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for possible Title IX violations relating to its handling of sexual misconduct. While the investigation continues, the university has taken several steps to update its policies and procedures regarding sexual assault. A centralized office will be created to investigate reports of sexual harassment to determine whether the Harvard’s new university-wide Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy has been violated.

Many colleges and universities rely on boards made up of students, faculty, and administrators to investigate and adjudicate sexual assault complaints. But in many cases these boards are not sufficiently trained to deal with such cases. Now, Harvard has announced that it is hiring a team of highly trained specialists to serve as investigators of sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints. The investigators will make findings of fact, determine whether there was a violation of the new policy, determine whether there was a hostile environment, and recommend measures to remedy any hostile environment.

“Harvard is deeply committed to fostering an educational environment free of gender-based discrimination, particularly sexual misconduct and sexual violence, to acting vigorously on reports of discrimination, and to supporting those who have experienced it,” Harvard President Drew Faust said.  “This new, progressive policy — alongside the new, centralized procedures for investigating reports — will significantly enhance Harvard’s ability to address these incidents when they occur.  Separately, the prevention-focused task force has already begun recommending approaches that will increase access to services for those who have experienced sexual misconduct and, ultimately, will help us better understand how to prevent incidents before they occur.”

Filed Under: Sexual Assault/Harassment


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