On July 2nd, Harvard University's Title IX office announced new university-wide policy and procedures pertaining to sexual violence (under the umbrella of sexual harassment).
Here you can find the statement of the new policy and procedures, which include the formation of a new Office for Dispute Resolution to which all complaints against a student of the University will be filed starting in the Fall 2014 semester.
Our Harvard Can Do Better welcomes the creation of a new centralized office to investigate sexual assault cases across all schools as a crucial and long-overdue step towards simplifying and streamlining the complaint process for survivors campus-wide.
However, we are disappointed to see that Harvard has not shifted to an affirmative consent policy. OHCDB advocates for a policy of affirmative consent – which we define as an unambiguous and voluntary agreement throughout sexual activity. Such a policy best clarifies expectations for all participants, while also facilitating a more mutual and equitable understanding of sexual activity. Affirmative consent is regrettably absent from the new policy. The new language of unwelcomeness remains opaque to students and was implemented without substantive student input.
Moving forward, OHCDB is committed to work towards reconciling official policy with student experience, and will continue to advocate for policies that will support survivors throughout the University.