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Spreadsheets and Silence

Approximately one month ago, a spreadsheet entitled “Shitty Architecture Men” was publicly released online. The spreadsheet, which has been circulating among Graduate School of Design affiliates, documents anonymous accounts of sexual misconduct and racist acts allegedly perpetrated by over a hundred men connected to institutions of higher education and prominent architecture firms. Among those accused are more than a dozen GSD students, faculty members, and administrators—including the current dean.

We strongly encourage those who shared their stories anonymously on the spreadsheet to come forward and file formal complaints, either with their institution or with law enforcement as necessary. Such would be the ideal course of action for addressing instances of sexual misconduct. It would hopefully allow for fair investigations and meaningful consequences that could help prevent such actions in the future.

However, we recognize the institutional failures that might discourage individuals from coming forward. Within the Harvard community alone, the historical reaction to accusations of sexual misconduct has been slow and unsatisfactory. We understand why victims of such behavior would seek recourse outside of the formal complaint system, especially one in which they have autonomy and may be able to see more immediate results.

Given Harvard’s past shortcomings in addressing sexual misconduct, we hope that the University takes the publication of this spreadsheet as a sign that its work is far from over. Harvard must ensure that this community is as supportive of those who experience sexual harassment as it claims to be. We believe that the claims made in the spreadsheet should be investigated as quickly, diligently, and fairly as possible, regardless of whether or not the accusers come forward. The anonymity of the accusers is troubling from an investigative standpoint, but we must not ignore the opportunity to protect future Harvard students and affiliates from potential harm. These accusations must be taken seriously and ought to be investigated.

Additionally, we recognize that this spreadsheet is a warning from sexual harassment victims, seeking to prevent the accused from committing similar actions against future students and colleagues. The public nature of the spreadsheet, which is not ideal for accusations of sexual misconduct, is important. Everyone ought to be warned if they are going to be working alongside potentially dangerous individuals. Everyone should be afforded protection from sexual violence. Victims of sexual misconduct have the right to attempt to protect all those who enter their institutions from experiencing the same harassment that they faced.

At its core, the spreadsheet is a reminder that sexual misconduct and racism still persist within the Harvard community as well as other educational and professional communities. We hope the University steps up and begins to handle accusations respectfully and effectively so that victims of sexual misconduct no longer feel that spreadsheets of this nature are necessary. The formal complaint system should be accessible and efficient enough that victims do not feel compelled to take external action. And the results of such formal complaints should remove those found guilty of committing sexual misconduct from our community.

This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.

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