A Linguistics graduate student has formally charged a senior professor in the department with sexual harassment, according to a letter sent Wednesday by the chairman to members of the department.
The letter from Department Chairman Calvert Watkins said that the University is investigating allegations that Professor of Linguistics Susumo Kuno sexually harassed a female graduate student. The letter was sent to graduate and undergraduate students as well as faculty members in the department.
"As many of you are no doubt aware, a formal charge of sexual harassment has been brought to the appropriate University authorities...against Professor Susumo Kuno. The matter is currently under investigation in accord with University regulations," Watkins' letter states.
"Pending the disposition of the case, and to avoid prejudging an ongoing investigation which lies entirely outside this Department, it would notbe appropriate for me to comment further," theletter continues.
Watkins, who could not be reached for commentyesterday, stated the complainant's name in hisletter. The Crimson, in accordance withlongstanding policy, has decided not to publishher identity at this time.
The complainant could not be reached forcomment yesterday. Her attorney, Carol Avard, hadno comment.
Kuno said of the case yesterday: "I don't thinkit's appropriate for me to say anything about it."The expert in Japanese syntax said that the matterwas "private."
Kuno's attorney, Edwin Miller, had no comment.
The substance of the allegation is not yetclear.
Cases of alleged sexual harassment involvingsenior faculty members are rare. Universityofficials said. They said such charges arenormally kept confidential.
Harvard's established procedures for handlingcases of alleged sexual harassment require that aninvestigative officer of the University discussthe charges with both parties. The officer,complainant or respondent can also request athree-person panel investigation of the charges"at any point prior to a final disposition by thedean of the Faculty," University regulationsstate.
Kuno, who has been at Harvard since 1960, saidhe did not know whether there would be such apanel hearing of the case. He also said that nosuch panel has been convened.
The University officer charged withinvestigating alleged cases of sexual harassmentinvolving graduate students, Associate Dean forStudent Affairs Margot N. Gill, did not returnrepeated phone calls yesterday.
Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence refusedto comment on the case, as did Vice President andGeneral Counsel Daniel Steiner '54.
Deputy General Counsel Martin Michaelson saidhe had "no comment at this time."