Members of 'Our Harvard Can do Better' protest the school's Title IX policies (Courtesy of Angela Frankel).
Harvard will implement its first university-wide sexual assaultthis fall.
As part of the, a team of trained civil rights investigators, working out of a new centralized office, will review all sexual assault cases at each of the university's thirteen schools. Previously, academic administrators had been the ones to investigate those reports.
In a statement, President Drew Faust said the university is committed to fostering an environment "free of sexual violence and gender discrimination." Faust said the new policy, which hasn't been approved by the US Education Department, will enable the university to better handle complaints.
In addition to creating the new office, Harvard is also lowering the burden of proof necessary to find someone guilty.
A grassrootscalled Our Harvard Can Do Better welcomed the changes, saying the streamlined policy was long-overdue.
However, the new policy does not go so far as to include a requirement that any sexual activity must first start with "affirmative consent." Instead, it defines "unwelcome conduct."
Our Harvard Can Do Better responded in a statement:
Harvard College and the university's law school are among more than 60 schools underby the federal government for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases.