Undergraduates Challenge College’s Sexual Assault Policy Under Title IX

Two Undergraduates Have Filed a Complaint with the Dept. Of Education's Office of Civil Rights

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Hours after Our Harvard Can Do Better made its complaint public, University President Drew G. Faust announced the creation of a presidential task force on sexual misconduct. According to an email sent to the Harvard community, the task force is charged with formulating recommendations to improve efforts to prevent sexual misconduct. The 17-member task force, chaired by former University Provost Steven E. Hyman, is made up of two undergraduates, a Law School student, as well as various faculty members and administrators from across the University.

Friday’s complaint is not the first about Harvard’s sexual assault policies filed against the University, nor against the College. In June 2002, prompted by an approved change in how the College investigated sexual assault complaints, an undergraduate filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, also alleging that the College’s sexual assault policy violated Title IX. The Office later began an investigation but eventually decided that Harvard’s policies did not violate the law.

More recently, in 2010, a complaint alleging Title IX violation was filed against Harvard Law School, prompting an Office for Civil Rights investigation that is ongoing.

The Our Harvard Can Do Better campaign sponsored a UC referendum in November 2012 calling on the College to re-examine its sexual assault policy. Even before voting had closed on the referendum, which garnered 85 percent support, then-Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds said the school was far from revising its sexual assault policies. Instead, Hammonds convened a working group to evaluate sexual assault resources on campus.

—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.

—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StevenSJLee.


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