Twenty eight current and former Harvard Law School professors released an op-ed in The Boston Globe today calling on the university to withdraw their new sexual harassment and misconduct policy, writing that “we find the new sexual harassment policy inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach.”
Harvard announced a sexual misconduct policy overhaul this summer, implementing a “preponderance of evidence” standard for sexual assault investigations and creating a centralized university office of trained investigators to handle any complaints. Traditionally, The Globe notes, each of Harvard’s 13 schools had autonomy in determining how to investigate sexual assault complaints.
The Harvard Law professors have issue both with the new policy itself and how it was implemented by the university:
As teachers responsible for educating our students about due process of law, the substantive law governing discrimination and violence, appropriate administrative decision-making, and the rule of law generally, we find the new sexual harassment policy inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach. We also find the process by which this policy was decided and imposed on all parts of the university inconsistent with the finest traditions of Harvard University, of faculty governance, and of academic freedom.
Harvard defended the new policy in a statement to The Globe, stating, “The policy and procedures address a problem that affects core institutional values and objectives — access to educational opportunities, fairness, objectivity, and non-discrimination.”
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