Harvard Disciplines Professor For Sexual Harassment
Grievance was Filed by Junior Faculty Member in Government Department
Harvard has taken disciplinary action against a tenured Government professor for sexually harassing a junior faculty member in the department, Government professors confirmed this week.
Jorge I. Dominguez, Harvard's senior authority on Latin American political science, was officially punished this summer by Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky, after the dean found merit in a grievance the assistant professor lodged.
Dominguez has been in Mexico City this week attending a conference, according to a note on his office door. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Professors and graduate students who discussed the incident declined to identify the assistant professor who filed the grievance. They said she was out of the country this week.
Rosovsky's apparent punitive action follows a Government graduate student's grievance that she was also sexually harassed by Dominguez. The student filed her complaint after the assistant professor's.
The incidents mark only the third time that disciplinary action against a Harvard professor for sexual harassment has come to light. The other two cases involved isolated incidents between a professor and student.
The assistant professor's grievance reportedly described episodes of both verbal harassment and physical contact by Dominguez that persisted for at least a year.
Rosovsky, in a letter to the graduate student, wrote, "I regret very much the discomfort you have experienced in your relationship with Professor Dominguez. Your statement has been helpful in evaluating other allegations of his abuse of authority and deciding what action should be taken by me."
Rosovsky refused to discuss Dominguez's case yesterday. Professors said he spoke about the case at a special Government faculty meeting held Monday night to discuss sexual harassment, but the dean did not disclose what measures he took against Dominguez.
Dominguez was recently replaced as chairman of an interdisciplinary Latin American studies committee.
The new chairman, Juan Marichal, Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages and Literatures, said yesterday a Faculty administrator asked him to assume the post because of a "serious situation" concerning Dominguez.
Professors said Dominguez was stripped of his post as punishment by Rosovsky for the alleged sexual harassment. The Crimson was unable to obtain any official confirmation of this fact.
Some professors said they were unhappy Rosovsky did not tell the department members what actions he took against Dominguez and complained that the reported punishment was too light.
"There's some feeling that the fact that there was supposed to be no publicity and the fact that he is still here are an inadequate deterrent for the future and an inadequate punishment for this case," one professor said.
The professor added: "There are a lot of us who feel that in some ways, the University is more concerned with its reputation than with the proper adjudication of a very serious matter."
At Monday's Government faculty meeting, the department unanimously adopted a resolution deploring sexual harassment and pledging to ensure that incidents of sexual harassment do not occur, professors said.
Dominguez apparently did not attend the meeting. He is expected to return to Harvard next week. One Government professor said that some department members were considering proposing that Dominguez be forbidden from attending faculty meetings in the future, as additional punishment.
The graduate student's complaint stated that Dominguez made repeated off-color or paternalistic remarks and, on one occasion a pass at her.
According to Faculty policy, formal harassment complaints are investigated by an administrator and submitted to Rosovsky for a final decision. Cases involving two professors may also be reviewed by an ad hoc Faculty committee.
The policy stipulates that complainants are told whether their case is found to have merit but are not notified what action is taken against the subject of the complaint.
The most recent publicized case of sexual harassment by a professor took place in Spring 1982.
Rosovsky wrote that he found merit in a complaint of sexual harassment filed by a freshman woman against a visiting professor in the English Department. He wrote a letter to the professor admonishing him and the Administrative Board later allowed the student to change her grade for the course from a "C" to "pass."
That case prompted a major review of the Faculty's procedures for handling sexual harassment cases by Rosovsky's steering committee of professors, the Faculty Council. The council eventually made no changes in the procedures.
The incident also helped spark a broad survey of undergraduates, graduate students and Faculty members concerning sexual harassment. The results will be released later this fall.
In December 1979, Rosovsky reprimanded a Government professor for making advances to a freshman woman, and threatened that if the professor repeated the action, the woman would go before the Corporation, which has the power to revoke tenure.
Dominguez is listed in the course catalogue as teaching two graduate courses this semester: a seminar in comparative politics and a class in U.S. -Latin American relations.
He received a B.A. from Yale in 1967, and obtained his Ph.D. at Harvard in 1972.
Michael W. Miller helped prepare this story.