Dear Members of the FAS Community,
As described in President Bacow’s message to the community, the University has taken a number of steps to address the new Department of Education (DoE) regulations for responding to campus-based sexual harassment, including sexual assault, that went into effect on August 14th. The University has adopted two interim policies that go beyond the minimum requirements stipulated by the new regulations and continue to address the same level of conduct covered by the former Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy and the Procedures for Handling Complaints Involving Students Pursuant to the Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy. These interim policies apply to all Harvard Schools and units, including the FAS, and to all Harvard students, faculty, staff, appointees, and third parties. More information about the University’s interim policies can be found here.
The Department of Education’s new Title IX regulations also necessitate action at the level of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). While the FAS adheres to University policies, it is responsible for elaborating on and supplementing them to suit the our School’s needs and goals. To that end, the FAS adopted in 2015 The FAS Policy on Sexual and Gender Based Harassment, which built upon the then newly created University-wide policy. As the University now adopts interim policies, the FAS also must adopt compliant interim policies to extend our current FAS-specific practices. The interim FAS policies are now available online here. Having these interim policies in place affords us the time to undertake a more deliberate and collaborative approach to developing a new, longer-term FAS policy.
In the coming weeks, I will form an FAS committee to lead the work of reviewing our FAS policy. The committee will establish channels for collecting input from the FAS community on this important issue. Though Harvard has made clear its concerns about the approach taken in the DoE regulations, nevertheless this moment represents an opportunity to apply lessons we have learned over the past five years as we develop a new policy to fight against sexual and gender-based harassment and misconduct and to advance our School’s fundamental commitments to equity and academic excellence.
Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences