Shinagel Distributes Memo About Sexual Harassment

Prompted by a Crimson article about a sexual harassment lawsuit, Dean of Continuing Education Michael Shinagel sent staff members a memo promising to take complaints seriously.

"In light of the front page story carried by the Harvard Crimson on Tuesday of this week, concerning the sexual harassment suit filed by a former DCE staff member, I feel compelled to assure all my colleagues in the division that I take all forms of misconduct seriously and you can be sure that any complaint will be pursued properly be me, by [Personnel Officer] Teresa Gee, and by any of our supervisors," the memo says.

The two-sentence April 9 letter was addressed to all Division of Continuing Education staff.

The Crimson article Shinagel discussed in the memo reports charges made in a lawsuit filed by M. Delise Battenfield against Harvard and three Extension School administrators.

Battenfield charges that she was sexually harassed by an employee at the Extension School, that Shingle mishandled a harassment complaint she made and that she became severely ill as a result of harassment and a hostile work environment. University officials have denied that sexual harassment occurred and say the suit is groundless.

Shingle wrote in the memo, "I regret that I cannot comment in detail on the case, other than what I and the University's General Counsel's office already stated in the Crimson article."

In an interview earlier this month, Shinagelsaid, "There's no merit to the case."

Shinagel yesterday denied rumors that copies ofthe April 7 Crimson, which reported Battenfield'scharges, were removed from the school's 51 BrattleSt. Headquarters or kept from staff members whowanted to read it.

"That is totally unfounded. I wanted people tosee it," Shinagel said. Shinagel said that if hewanted to suppress news of the lawsuit, he wouldnot have distributed the memo about it toExtension School staff members.

Jay M. Phillips, manager of building operationsfor the department of continuing education, saidthe Crimsons in question were delivered, and saidhe even made a photocopy of the article forsomeone who wanted one.

But three employees, speaking on condition ofanonymity, said they heard the newspapers wereremoved from the Extension School.

"They were very hard to find," one said.Another said copies of The Crimson "were not to befound in the building" the day of the articleabout sexual harassment.

The employees said they usually have no problemfinding copies of The Crimson.

It should be slightly easier for them to findcopies of the newspaper in the future.

Phillips said that after the article aboutsexual harassment at the Extension Schoolappeared, the school bought two more subscriptionsto The Crimson