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With a new process for responding to cases of alleged sexual harassment now in place at Harvard Law School, a new group of administrators are overseeing the beginning stages of integrating the new system and informing students about it.
Since the end of last semester, two of the three members of the Law School Title IX Unit that oversees the investigation and adjudication of student sexual harassment cases have left their positions. Marie H. Bowen, who served as the school's assistant dean of human resources and its chief Title IX officer, left Harvard for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Ellen M. Cosgrove, the former dean of students and another Title IX officer at the school, departed this summer for Yale Law School.
The two administrative departures have left interim administrators in their place to oversee the rollout of the Law School's complicated new approach to Title IX compliance. The Law School’s process, new this semester, is a major departure from the system in place at all other Harvard schools, whose student sexual harassment cases go through one centralized Title IX office.
According to Catherine Claypoole, the Law School's interim chief Title IX officer, she is the only member of the original Title IX unit still at the school. Jeffrey C. McNaught, the acting dean of students, and Kathryn Beaudry, the acting assistant dean of human resources, are now interim Title IX officers.
“We will revisit composition of the Title IX Unit and roles after our new Dean of Students and our new Chief Human Resources Officer settle into their jobs. For the time being the current coordinators will remain in place,” Claypoole wrote in an email.
Marcia Sells, who comes to Harvard from Columbia, will assume her post as the Law School's new dean of students on Sept. 21. According to McNaught, her interim predecessor, Sells may assume Title IX responsibilities later in the semester.
The series of departures and new arrivals among staff members means that the Law School's administration is in flux as the school itself transitions to a new Title IX approach.
Under the Law School’s new system, in place after months of faculty debate, an adjudicatory panel of non-Harvard affiliated professionals will rule on violations of Harvard’s University-wide Title IX policy, potentially after a hearing. The Law School will provide students involved in a case with an attorney if requested.
According to Claypoole, the Title IX and Dean of Students offices will hold a series of information sessions to inform Law School students about the new sexual harassment adjudication process.
Several returning students recently said they were unfamiliar with the new procedures. All new Law School students, according to Claypoole, were trained in the new procedures both online and during orientation.
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