Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

For complete policies related to sexual misconduct, discrimination, and harassment, please see the HDS Handbook for Students.

Sexual harassment and discrimination

The Divinity School condemns any form of sexual harassment, including unprofessional conduct in faculty-student relationships, and sexism in the classroom and all programs of the school. These kinds of behavior are barriers to the educational, scholarly, and research purposes of the University and constitute discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Please refer to Know Your Rights, published by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, for more information on your rights and the prohibition of sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools receiving federal funding.

Sexual harassment may be described generally as unwanted sexual behavior by individuals or by a group, such as physical or verbal comments or suggestions, which adversely affect the learning environment of an individual or discourages participation in programs or resources of the school. It includes actions that deface or intentionally or recklessly damage HDS property or the property of any other member of the HDS community with the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or of creating an intimidating, demeaning, degrading, hostile, or other seriously offensive working or educational environment at Harvard Divinity School.

Rape, sexual assault, and other sexual misconduct

All members of the University community have a right to treatment with dignity and respect and to full participation in the community. These rights extend to classrooms, work places, programs and activities, and residences. They include the right to bodily safety and integrity. In recognition of these rights, the Divinity School is committed to creating and maintaining an environment at Harvard in which all individuals—faculty, staff, and students—are treated with dignity and feel safe and secure in their persons.

The Divinity School will not tolerate sexual misconduct including rape and sexual assault, whether affecting a man or a woman, perpetrated by an acquaintance or a stranger, by someone of the same sex or someone of the opposite sex. A student who commits rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct is subject to severe penalties through the judicial process of the Divinity School, in addition to other punishment they may face. Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the individuals responsible for such acts are subject to prosecution and legal penalties.

Rape includes any act of sexual intercourse that takes place against a person’s will and that is accompanied by physical coercion or the threat of bodily injury. Unwillingness may be expressed verbally or physically. Rape may also include intercourse with a person who is incapable of expressing unwillingness or is prevented from resisting, as a result of conditions including, but not limited to, those caused by the intake of alcohol or drugs. Rape includes not only unwilling or forced vaginal intercourse, but may also include the sexual penetration of any bodily orifice with a body part or other object. Sexual assault includes unwanted touching of a sexual nature that is accomplished by physical force or threat of bodily injury.

Sexual misconduct may also include other serious or persistent unwanted sexual contact or conduct, such as harassment, threats, intimidation, or unwanted touching or fondling. Being intoxicated does not diminish a person’s responsibility in perpetrating rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct.

Any student who believes that she or he has suffered rape or sexual assault is strongly encouraged to pursue medical assistance, counseling and support, and legal remedies. Students may also choose to file a complaint which may initiate disciplinary or remedial action for sexual misconduct, including rape and sexual assault, through the Divinity School. Disciplinary or remedial action may be pursued whether or not a complainant chooses to invoke legal remedies. Consultation regarding emotional, legal, and administrative concerns is available to those students who wish to pursue either Divinity School or legal processes, or both, through the assistant dean for student affairs or the associate dean for enrollment and student services.

Procedures for sexual harassment complaints at HDS

Please see HDS Procedures for the Resolution of Harassment Issues.

HDS resources and Title IX officers for students

Tim Whelsky, HDS Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
twhelsky@hds.harvard.edu, 617.496.3091

Maritza Hernandez, HDS Associate Dean for Enrollment and Student Services
mhernandez@hds.harvard.edu, 617.496.8641

Harvard resources

Harvard University Police Department
Sensitive Crime Unit 617.495.1976

Cambridge Police Department
Sexual Assault Unit 617.349.3371

Harvard University Health Services
Medical treatment and, if needed, collection of medical evidence 617.495.5711
Mental Health Services 617.495.2042

Mia Karvonides, J.D., Harvard University Title IX Officer
Smith Center 951
1350 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Tel: (617) 495-4134

Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response
731 Smith Center (formerly Holyoke Center)
General office number (24 hour information line): 617.495.9100

The Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response was established in 2003 to provide confidential support, information, and resource referrals to survivors of sexual violence, and to educate the College community about sexual assault, its prevention, and its impact. The Office coordinates on and off-campus resources to develop a collaborative and effective response to sexual violence.

Harvard students may access these services by calling the Office or by coming to the Office. The Office provides confidential, 24 hour information and assistance for students who have experienced sexual assault and related forms of interpersonal violence including sexual harassment and relationship abuse-call 5-9100 to activate this response. Staff will assist with referrals and explanation of options, including options for medical and mental health care, reporting, and adjudication. The OSAPR also provides consultation and support for friends, partners, and others concerned about a sexual assault survivor.