Harvard, Plaintiff Propose Schedule for Sexual Harassment Case

Massachusetts Hall
Massachusetts Hall.
UPDATED: April 21, 2017 at 9:47 a.m. A lawsuit challenging Harvard's compliance with Title IX could last into 2018 if the court accepts a schedule jointly filed by both the University and the recent graduate suing.

Under the proposed schedule, lawyers representing Harvard and plaintiff Alyssa R. Leader ’15 would have until Oct. 2017 to gather evidence and depose witnesses, according to a document filed in the Mass. District Court Monday. The last event is set for January 2018, and both Leader and Harvard have requested a jury trial.

Leader filed the lawsuit in February 2016 alleging that Harvard responded with “deliberate indifference” to her sexual harassment complaint while she was a student at the College. Leader filed the complaint in 2015, alleging that a male undergraduate, “John Doe 1,” sexually abused her during and after a dating relationship. In her lawsuit, she argues that the University did not properly respond to the complaint and violated Title IX.

Harvard has denied all of Leader’s claims that it violated Title IX or was in any way negligent, and moved to dismiss the case last June. Last month, the court struck down three of Harvard’s four primary arguments and denied its motion to dismiss.

Alexander S. Zalkin, who is representing Leader in court, said the long wait is “expected” because there generally is a significant time period leading up to a trial.

“We’re certainly pleased that the judge denied the vast majority of Harvard’s motion to dismiss, which is allowing the case to go forward,” Zalkin said. “And we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to truly find out Harvard’s full response to my client’s reports and hopefully get some compensation and remuneration for Alyssa, for the damage which she suffered as a result of Harvard’s conduct.”

Harvard’s compliance with Title IX has been under scrutiny before. In 2014, the United States Department of Education found the Law School in violation of the anti-sex discrimination policy, and the College’s compliance with Title IX is currently under investigation by the federal government.


—Staff writer Leah S. Yared can be reached at leah.yared@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @LeahYared.

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