Harvard Law Professors Object to Sex Harassment Rules

October 15, 2014

Twenty-eight current and former law professors at Harvard University have published an op-ed in The Boston Globe calling on the university to withdraw its new rules to prevent sexual harassment. The piece argues that Harvard has tilted its process in ways that deny due process or fairness to those accused of assault or harassment. "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," the piece says. "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."

A news article in the Globe about the piece quoted MaryRose Mazzola, who is a member of Harvard Students Demand Respect, a group that believes Harvard has not gone far enough in to protect women on campus, as saying that "we’re deeply concerned by the content of the op-ed and will be reviewing the letter more closely in the coming days."

The university released a statement defending its approach. "The policy and procedures address a problem that affects core institutional values and objectives – access to educational opportunities, fairness, objectivity, and non-discrimination," the statement said. "The university appreciates that not every member of the community will agree with every aspect of the new approach. Some believe the policies and procedures go too far; others believe that they do not go far enough. This type of discussion is fundamental to any vibrant academic community."



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