Harvard Hires Title IX Coordinator

Harvard has hired a Title IX Coordinator to oversee the University’s compliance with the 40-year-old gender equality legislation, according to a Harvard spokesperson.

The new appointee, whose name will be announced when he or she begins work in March, will monitor Harvard’s policies “to ensure compliance with state and federal law and regulations,” wrote Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Jeff Neal in an emailed statement.

According to the statement, the new coordinator will work across the University’s various schools and departments to collect statistics about sexual harassment on campus, disseminate educational material related to sexual assault prevention, and provide annual compliance reports to students and administrators. The appointee will also coordinate efforts to promote equal access for all students in admissions, athletics, and academics.

Neal wrote that the position was created last fall and the new coordinator was hired “in recent months.” He declined to comment on why Harvard decided to create the new post.

According to the Department of Education’s website, Title IX requires all colleges and universities to maintain a Title IX coordinator and notify all students of the coordinator’s name and contact information.

In recent years, Harvard has faced considerable external pressure to reevaluate its compliance with Title IX.

In April 2011, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights sent a “Dear Colleague” letter containing a new set of Title IX guidelines to colleges and universities receiving federal funding. The letter recommended that every school “designate at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX.”

That same month, New England School of Law professor Wendy Murphy filed a Title IX complaint against Harvard Law School, alleging that the school’s sexual assault policies did not comply with the latest guidelines issued by the Office for Civil Rights.

The Office for Civil Rights launched an official investigation, but the case has yet to be resolved.

Harvard’s move makes Dartmouth the only school in the Ivy League that does not employ an administrator officially designated as a Title IX coordinator.

In November 2011, Yale named a campus Title IX coordinator as part of a response into an Office for Civil Rights investigation into its procedures.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, signed into law by Richard Nixon, forbids discrimination based on sex in “any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Although the legislation is widely known for increasing the participation of women in high school and collegiate sports, it also treats sexual harassment as a form of discrimination.

—Staff writer Michelle Denise L. Ferreol can be reached at mferreol@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @michiferreol.

—Staff writer Jared T. Lucky can be reached at lucky@college.harvard.edu. Follow him on Twitter @jared_lucky.

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