Harvard University Launches Initiatives to Prevent and Respond to Instances of Sexual Harassment on Campus

The Title IX Office at Harvard University is launching a number of new initiatives this fall to prevent and respond to instances of sexual and gender-based harassment, including sexual assault, on campus.

“Our fundamental goal is to be a leader in a culture shift around sexual and gender-based harassment on America’s campuses, by elevating and enhancing the work we are already doing here at Harvard,” said Nicole Merhill, Harvard’s Title IX officer. “We continue to strive to provide outreach, education, and prevention on a broader scale, while giving a greater voice to those who matter the most: the members of our community.”

These new initiatives include creating student, faculty, and staff liaison committees to educate their peers about Title IX policies and resources, hiring an education manager to expand the university’s training efforts, developing a new mandatory online training program for faculty staff, and launching a bystander intervention training program.

Additionally, this spring Harvard will participate in the American Association for Universities’ survey on the climate of sexual assault and misconduct on campus. The survey is a follow-up to another survey conducted in 2015 at 28 research universities. The results from the 2015 survey found that there was high frequency of undergraduates who have experienced sexual assault and that many students lacked confidence in Harvard’s response to these reports and were unaware of the resources available to them. The new survey will highlight ways that Harvard has improved over the past four years and areas that still need more attention.

“We are excited about each of our new offerings, and hopeful that they will help us to continue to reach more individuals here across Harvard’s campuses,” said Merhill. “There’s always more work to do, and we look forward to collaborating with our community to best support our mission to maintain a safe and healthy educational and work environment, free from sexual and gender-based harassment.”

Merhill holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and English from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and a master’s degree in educational law and a juris doctorate from the University of New Hampshire.

Filed Under: Sexual Assault/HarassmentTitle IX


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