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Harvard Law breaks with university on sexual assault investigation policies

Will Harvard Law School get federal permission to provide some measure of due process for its students accused of sexual assault?

The school is suggesting that’s the case, but won’t let the media review its latest draft policy on Title IX procedures in response to Office for Civil Rights (OCR) feedback, The Harvard Crimson reports.

You may remember the open letter that 28 Harvard Law faculty wrote in the Boston Globe, savaging Harvard University for new sexual misconduct procedures that “lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation.”

After that revolt, law faculty set up their own committee to devise procedures specific to the law school, The Crimson says:

The feedback from OCR on the Law School’s new procedures focused mainly on clarifications and suggestions but not on procedural objections, according to [spokesman Robb] London. The Law School is now revising its procedures for final approval from the federal government, in keeping with a resolution agreement forged after the Law School was found in violation of Title IX late last year.

“There were no objections to the procedures—just a few suggestions and requested clarifications of the text in a couple of places, which we have now made,” London wrote in an email Monday.

The main divergence from university-wide procedures in the original law school revision was keeping sexual harassment investigations in-house, “instead of sending complaints to Harvard’s central Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution,” The Crimson said.

The law school says students will be notified when it implements new procedures.

Read The Crimson story.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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