Administrators are interviewing candidates to fill two remaining positions in the new central office charged with investigating sexual harassment complaints from students across all of Harvard’s schools, even as that body hears its first complaints, according to University Title IX Officer Mia Karvonides.
That central body—the Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution—has hired outside help to hear cases alongside its one full-time investigator, William D. McCants, on a contract basis while the two other investigator positions remain open, Karvonides said in an interview Monday. She declined to specify how many complaints ODR has received so far this year, but confirmed that it has received some.
“We’re being very careful in the selection” of the two investigators, Karvonides said. “We need to make sure that whoever we hire has experience conducting investigations, that it’s somebody that we have confidence in their ability to handle this rule as a neutral and in a way that is going to be respectful of both parties.”
Karvonides declined to specify a timetable for filling the two open investigator positions, but said administrators are “doing everything we can to move as quickly as possible on making these hires and making the right hires.”
The ODR, which opened after Harvard unveiled its first University-wide sexual harassment policy this summer, has remained understaffed since students arrived on campus this fall. Harvard is looking to hire the additional investigators as other colleges nationwide seek to fill similar positions amid federal scrutiny into their Title IX compliance.
Karvonides acknowledged the high demand for qualified investigators, but said Harvard has attracted “good interest” in the positions. The difficulty, she said, lies in finding interested candidates who also have what administrators consider the right skills for the job.
Karvonides did not indicate how many people have applied so far. According to a recent job posting, a law degree is “highly preferred” but not required for the position.
Administrators have yet to decide whether the ODR will publish statistics summarizing the number of complaints it receives and investigates, but they are discussing doing so, Karvonides also said. The College’s Administrative Board, which until this academic year investigated undergraduates’ sexual assault complaints, publishes an annual set of statistics that accounts for the number of cases heard by the body, including those involving alleged sexual misconduct.
Monday’s interview was Karvonides’s first on-the-record conversation with The Crimson in 2014.
—Staff writer Steven S. Lee contributed to the reporting of this story.
—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.
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