Dean of Harvard Law School Martha L. Minow has appointed a Title IX committee to begin implementing the school’s new set of procedures for responding to cases of alleged sexual harassment, according to Law School spokesperson Robb London.
The procedures, which the Law School faculty voted to approve late last year, break from Harvard’s central set of procedures governing its handling of alleged sexual harassment. Under these new procedures, the Law School will investigate its own student sexual harassment complaints, rather than the central Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution.
In February, the Law School received initial feedback on its new procedures from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights that was largely positive and resubmitted the procedures for any further comment. They have not received further feedback, according to London.
The Title IX committee—which consists of tenured faculty members appointed by the Dean, according to the new procedures—has “been working on the formation of the adjudicators’ pool and also to enlist investigators,” London wrote in an email. “We will implement them as soon as practicable after OCR has completed its review.”
Under the procedures, the committee will oversee the investigation and adjudicatory processes for cases of alleged sexual harassment.
The Law School’s school-specific Title IX procedures were adopted by the Law School faculty last year following pushback to Harvard’s newly centralized model for responding to cases of alleged sexual harassment.
Not long after Harvard unveiled its central Title IX policy last summer, Law professors began to speak out against the University’s framework. After a group of 28 professors published an open letter in the Boston Globe that criticized Harvard’s policy in October, Minow appointed a committee, chaired by Law School professor John Coates, to draft a new set of school-specific procedures. In November, 20 professors also circulated a memo to the committee advocating for a set of procedures independent from the University’s central investigation process. The resulting procedures reflect many of the signatories’ concerns.
According to a notice on the Law School’s website, Law School students will be notified when the new procedures are implemented.
—Staff writer Andrew M. Duehren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @aduehren.
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