Founded in 1636, Harvard University is among the nation's oldest post-secondary institutions in the country. At the core of the school's Community Initiatives is a commitment to diversity. This correlates with the goals of the federal Title IX amendment that was established in 1972, which sought to prevent all forms of sexually-based discrimination in educational environments.
Title IX Coordinator and Complaint Reporting Options
The Title IX Coordinator is located at 901 Smith Campus Center. The University also has multiple Deputy Title IX Coordinators throughout various other departments. Complaints may also be submitted confidentially through the University's Anonymous Disclosure Form.
Understanding Unwelcome Conduct
A key characteristic of acts deemed to be harassment is that they are unwelcome. This type of conduct is not requested and is “undesirable or offensive.” Often these matters involve acts of unwanted sexual contact. A person who has given consent to participate in sexual activity on a prior occasion is not “necessarily” welcoming a “subsequent” sexual encounter.
The administration will put forth the effort to maintain confidentiality. Information will not be disclosed to those who are not associated with the process. It is important to remember that faculty and staff may have a duty (obligation) to report incidents that they perceive to be harassment, discrimination, etc.
Potential Informal Resolution
Informal resolution is a possible voluntary option that does not involve a complete investigation or imposing harsh sanctions. It is appropriate for allegations that are comparatively less serious. Approval of informal resolutions is granted by a Title IX Coordinator.
The Complainant and Respondent typically will meet with those investigating individually. Investigators will also interview witnesses to gather relevant information. Witnesses are not permitted solely for purposes of attesting to a party's character. The formal resolution process typically involves summoning all parties to a hearing.
What is the Role of a Personal Advisor?
The Complainant and Respondent may both choose a personal advisor that will accompany them throughout the process. If requested, the University may assist a party in locating someone to serve in this role. This is largely a supportive role that is best suited for an attorney.
Your attorney may be of tremendous assistance in preparation. This preparation may ensure that you can effectively deliver statements and respond to questions. Serving in this capacity, your attorney may engage in negotiations with institutional administrators regarding a positive amicable resolution.
Sanctions and Grounds for Appeal
When allegations are proven, respondents can expect to be suspended or dismissed from the institution. Notification of intent to appeal must be received within one week. There are specific grounds for those seeking to appeal an adverse ruling including:
- It is believed that an error was made in the procedure that impacted the outcome
- New relevant information has become available that could alter the ruling
- Simply disagreeing with the findings of the investigation is not grounds for appeal
Harvard Title IX Student Lawyer
The Lento Law Firm effectively represents college and university students in Title IX actions. Experienced representation is critical, as there are potential long-term consequences that can adversely impact your future. Contact the office for more information today at (888) 535-3686.