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Harvard Launches Internal Committee to Review Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, and Bullying Policies

Massachusetts Hall houses the offices of University Provost Alan M. Garber '76.
Massachusetts Hall houses the offices of University Provost Alan M. Garber '76. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Jasper G. Goodman, Kelsey J. Griffin, and Christina T. Pham, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard has established a committee and working groups to review the University’s sexual misconduct, discrimination, and bullying policies, University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 announced in an email to Harvard affiliates Monday.

The committee will consist of three working groups composed of faculty, students, and staff, which will in turn be directed by a group of faculty and administrators. The review is the result of an agreement between the University and its graduate student union following months of dispute over the school’s sexual harassment policies during contract negotiations last spring.

The “Title IX Policy and Other Sexual Misconduct Policy” working group will review the University’s two interim policies and procedures announced in August. The policies, created in response to new Title IX regulations created by then-U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy D. Devos, address behavior covered under the new federal guidelines as well as behavior falling outside of the guideline’s jurisdiction.

The “Non-Discrimination Policy” working group will review how Harvard addresses complaints of discrimination other than sexual and gender-based harassment. The role of this group will be to propose new procedures for investigation and resolution, while increasing the school’s transparency when handling these cases.

Finally, the “Anti-Bullying” working group will focus on power-based harassment and misconduct by individuals in positions of authority. This group will review University procedures to address misconduct not in violation of sexual and gender-based harassment or discrimination policies.

Garber wrote that Harvard affiliates will have the opportunity to provide input to the working groups, noting the commission is part of an effort to ensure that Harvard is a safe place for all.

“One of the priorities of this University is to provide an environment where each of us can feel safe to participate fully in the life of the University, whether we are studying, teaching, conducting research, or working in other ways,” he wrote.

—Staff writer Kelsey J. Griffin can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @kelseyjgriffin.

—Staff writer Jasper G. Goodman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Goodman.

—Staff writer Christina T. Pham can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Christina_TPham.

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