UPDATED: March 6, 2018 at 10:55 p.m.
Government professor Jorge I. Dominguez announced Tuesday he will retire from his teaching job at the end of the semester and that he is immediately resigning from his administrative roles, several days after at least 18 women publicly accused him of sexual harassment.
“I am retiring from my job at Harvard at the end of this semester,” Dominguez wrote in an email to colleagues Tuesday. “I have stepped down immediately from my role at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and my other very few remaining academic coordinating roles.”
Chair of the Government department Jennifer L. Hochschild shared Dominguez’s message with department affiliates in an email Tuesday afternoon. She wrote Dominguez’s retirement will not affect Harvard’s ongoing attempts to investigate allegations of sexual harassment made against the professor. The rights and privileges normally provided to retired faculty members will take into account the outcome of the University's investigation, according to FAS spokesperson Anna Cowenhoven.
The University placed Dominguez on “administrative leave” Sunday evening.
“I want to underscore that Professor Dominguez is currently on administrative leave, and his forthcoming retirement does not change the ongoing review of the facts and circumstances that have come to light,” Hochschild wrote in her email.
FAS Dean Michael D. Smith also wrote that Dominguez's retirement "does not change the full and fair process of review" in an emailed statement Tuesday. Smith added that Dominguez will remain on leave until the review is concluded.
The Chronicle of Higher Education published a Feb. 27 article revealing that at least 10 women were alleging Dominguez had committed repeated acts of sexual harassment across the past three decades. The Chronicle published a second piece Sunday in which more women came forward to accuse Dominguez of sexual misconduct, bringing the total count of possible victims to 18 women.
While on administrative leave, Dominguez will continue to receive a salary but will not allowed to fulfill any of his teaching and administrative duties, according to FAS spokesperson Anna Cowenhoven.
At the monthly Faculty meeting Tuesday, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith said he encourages members and affiliates of FAS who have suffered sexual harassment to come forward and share their stories with one of the Title IX Coordinators.
“I now want to turn to our broader commitments and state unequivocally that the FAS will not tolerate sexual harassment,” Smith said. “I encourage anyone who has witnessed sexual harassment in the FAS, recently or in the past, to come forward and share their experiences with one of the FAS Title IX Coordinators.”
University President Drew. G Faust also spoke about the recent sexual harassment allegations against Dominguez at the meeting Tuesday. She said the University “very clearly” has more work to do.
“We need to acknowledge and work to address the cultural and structural realities that permit sexual harassment to occur. We need to acknowledge the profound influence members of the faculty have over junior faculty and students,” Faust said. “All of us in this room share a responsibility to act in ways that acknowledge this imbalance of power.”
Faust highlighted several University initiatives meant to combat sexual harassment. She cited the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and the presence of Title IX coordinators as examples of the University’s “integrated, professionalized and robust system” to address issues of sexual harassment.
Before Faculty administrators took action, the new and resurfaced allegations prompted Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 to send an email to Harvard affiliates Friday afternoon reaffirming the University’s commitment to “a safe, healthy and non-discriminatory educational and work environment.” Garber also called for affiliates who have experienced sexual harassment to come forward and speak to Title IX officers.
In the days before Dominguez’s retirement, many undergraduates and graduate students called for his removal.
Dominguez started teaching at Harvard in 1972 after earning his Ph.D. the same year and received tenure in 1979. The first case of sexual misconduct perpetrated by Dominguez reported by the Chronicle occurred that same year, when a former undergraduate alleges the professor repeatedly touched her and tried to kiss her.
In the early 1980s, Dominguez made repeated sexual advances towards former assistant professor Terry L. Karl and another graduate student in the department. Both women reported the incidents to administrators, prompting then-Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky to sanction Dominguez in 1984 by removing him from the administrative positions he then held.
Just one year after the 1984 punishment, though, Dominguez was appointed to chair both the FAS Foreign Cultures subcommittee of the Core Curriculum and the Special Appointments Committee in the Government department.
Between 1995 to 2006, Dominguez served as the director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; following this, he became Harvard’s first vice provost for international affairs, a position he held from 2006 to 2015.
Weatherhead Center director Michèle Lamont released a statement on Friday in response to the initial Chronicle article. She encouraged affiliates to reach out to Harvard personnel and Title IX officers.
Dominguez’s various promotions across the years came as undergraduates, graduate students, and junior faculty alike were sexually harassed by the professor, according to their allegations in the Chronicle. The most recent of these allegations dates from 2015.
Though Dominguez was on sabbatical this semester before Smith placed him on leave, he taught two undergraduate classes in fall 2017, including a seminar whose enrollment was restricted to College freshmen.
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