We all know that Harvard is an outstanding institution in many respects. We are proud of the faculty we learn from, the peers we learn with, and the groundbreaking thought and research we learn about. But over two years of conversations with survivors and students about their experiences around sexual assault and rape culture on campus have taught us that something is going wrong. We want to be proud of the way Harvard treats its survivors, and we want a campus where every student is safe and supported.  Our Harvard can do better.

 

 

Our Harvard Can Do Better advocates for a broadly intersectional, inclusive, survivor-centric, Title IX compliant approach to combating sexual assault and rape culture on campus. Last year 85% of undergraduates supported our referendum question demanding that the College revise its policies with respect to consent and mental incapacitation. Now, we call on the College and FAS recommit to supporting survivors, beginning with the following steps: 

  • Adopt a clear standard of affirmative consent in the Handbook for Students
  • Specify the “mental incapacitation” phrase in the Handbook for Students to more clearly determine the point at which someone is unable to consent under the influence
  • Create a standardized informal (i.e. non Ad Board) accommodations process, including:
    • what accommodations may be granted without an Ad Board case, and what accommodations require an Ad Board case
    • to what office and which administrators a student should go to initiate this process and who the representative/advocate for the student in this process should be
    • the procedural steps involved in this process
  • Adopt a preferred (i.e. default) standard of punishment for students found guilty of sexual assault in Ad Board proceedings. Additionally, provide (anonymous) statistics about the actions taken by the administration in such cases  
  • Create a standardized policy that professors must obey in providing academic accommodations to survivors
  • Adopt a preponderance of evidence standard in determining Ad Board verdicts
  • Set a length of time the Ad Board may take to address a sexual assault grievance to ensure accountability of the grievance process
  • Require the Ad Board to issue its verdict in writing
  • Provide comprehensive and inclusive education programs that cover policy definitions, disciplinary/accommodations procedures, and Title IX rights for all students of all years
  • Report all instances of acquaintance rape in Harvard’s federally mandated Clery Act statistics and issue community advisories when acquaintance rapes occur (they are currently only issued when stranger rapes occur)
  • Increase funding for the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR) 
  • Actively engage a broad range of student voices in addressing these changes

We would love for you to join us! 

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Name and Class Year