Mansfield Criticizes Sex Abuse Guidelines

Harvard's sexual harassment guidelines are unfair to men and a violation of academic freedom, Kenan Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield '53 said at yesterday's Faculty meeting.

Charging that the University's guidelines concentrate on the use of power to gain sexual favors and overlooks the use of sexual favors to gain power, Mansfield alleged that they ignore the issue of female seduction as a type of harassment.

He also said the "Tell Someone" leaflet, which is distributed by Harvard to all students, represents a violation of academic freedom because it provides an absolute definition of sexism.

"Harvard should defend the rights of professors to define terms in their classroom," Mansfield said.

And he said Harvard's sexual harassment guidelines do not consider the issue of false accusations.


Citing two recent cases at the University of Maine, Mansfield said the leaflet makes "no mention of an accuser of inferior status bringing down a person of superior status."

Saying that the "Tell Someone" booklet is a "veritable incitement to make a mountain out a mole-hill," Mansfield called for a discussion of the guidelines.

Mansfield said he did not take issue with the implementation of the guidelines, saying he understood how hard it is to address and deal with harassment complaints.

He also noted he did not deny men can be aggressive.

He made his remarks in the "open question" period of yesterday's FacultyMeeting, in which professors are invited to raiseany issue they please.

In an interview last night, Mansfield said thathis comments would be enough to initiate areconsideration of the University's guidelines.

"I think my statement will be enough to startthings," he said. "I could tell that President[Neil L.] Rudenstine was pleased by my questionbecause he said 'thank you' at the end of it."

At last month's faculty meeting, Mansfieldcharged in the questioning period that Harvard isnot contributing to the use of "good language"because the Common Application, which Harvardadopted last year, does not use the "clear andprecise" language of the old Harvard application.

No faculty members responded at the meeting toMansfield's statements on the sexual harassmentguidelines.

Assistant Dean of Harvard College Virginia L.MacKay-Smith '78, the College's primary advisor onsexual harassment issues, could not be reached forcomment last night.

"I've been raising a number of issues on whichI think Harvard has faculty policies," Mansfieldsaid. "And I believe they will consider them.