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PR: Harvard Law Professors Rail Against New Sex Policy

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Contact: Gina Lauterio

Telephone: 301-801-0608


Harvard Law Professors Rail Against New Sex Policy

WASHINGTON / October 16, 2014 – Twenty-eight faculty members at the Harvard Law School have issued a statement criticizing the university’s new Sexual Harassment Policy. The strongly worded statement, unprecedented in its challenge to U.S. Department of Education policy, was published in the October 15 edition of the Boston Globe

The document expressed the law professors’ “strong objections” to the Harvard policy which is “inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach” and which, they warned, “will do more harm than good.”

The professors noted the university’s new definition of sexual harassment “goes significantly beyond Title IX and Title VII law.” They charged the new procedures are “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused” because they “lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process.”

The declaration recited the following particulars:

■ The policy’s “absence of any adequate opportunity to discover the facts charged and to confront witnesses and present a defense at an adversary hearing.”

■ “The lodging of the functions of investigation, prosecution, fact-finding, and appellate review in one office.”

■ A “failure to ensure adequate representation for the accused, particularly for students unable to afford representation.”

The Harvard faculty enjoined university administrators to “withdraw this sexual harassment policy” and develop new “substantive and procedural rules which would best balance the complex issues involved.”

“The Harvard faculty has rung the bell of liberty in defense of our fundamental civil rights,” notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “Professors at other law schools around the country will hopefully issue similar declarations about the Department of Education’s ham-fisted and unconstitutional policies.”

Numerous commentators have criticized the Department of Education’s 2011 Dear Colleague Letter on sexual assault because it shortchanges both victims and the accused:

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments—SAVE—works for evidence-based solutions to sexual assault: