Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Misconduct
In May 1993, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted a policy on sexual assault and misconduct. That policy is printed here in its entirety. In addition, copies are available from the Assistant Dean of Harvard College, from the House Offices and the Freshman Dean’s Office, from the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR), and from the Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (SASH) advisers in each House and Yard.
FAS Policy Statement on 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, workplaces, and residences. They include the right to bodily safety and integrity. In recognition of these rights, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences 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. These principles are fundamental to the attainment of a community devoted to teaching, learning, and research.
In accordance with these principles, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will not tolerate sexual misconduct including rape and other forms of 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. Such behavior is unacceptable in our community. A student who commits rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct is subject to severe penalties under the rules of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 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.
This policy and its related disciplinary procedure apply when an allegation of sexual misconduct is made against a student at Harvard College. Within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, different reporting and disciplinary procedures apply when the individual alleged to have committed an act of sexual misconduct is a graduate student, or member of the faculty or staff.
For the purposes of this policy, sexual misconduct is to be understood as encompassing the following behaviors:
Rape includes any act of sexual intercourse that takes place against a person’s will or 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 also the sexual penetration of any bodily orifice with a body part or other object.
Indecent assault and battery involves any unwanted touching or fondling of a sexual nature that is accompanied 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, or intimidation.
Being intoxicated does not diminish a student’s responsibility in perpetrating rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct.
Rape and indecent assault and battery are felonies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and any student who believes that she or he has suffered a rape or indecent assault and battery is strongly encouraged to report the incident to the HUPD immediately (617-495-1212). Once the incident is documented, the victim can then pursue legal remedies or may also choose to initiate disciplinary or remedial action for sexual misconduct, including rape and indecent assault and battery, through Harvard College in accordance with the procedures for adjudicating peer disputes, as established by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Disciplinary or remedial action under those procedures may be pursued whether or not a complainant chooses to prosecute the case. Counseling and consultations regarding emotional, legal, and administrative concerns are available to those students who wish to pursue either College or legal processes, or both.
Harvard and the local community provide many resources to support, advise, and assist victims of rape and sexual assault. All of the following resources have had training to deal effectively with sexual assault. In addition to HUPD and HUHS, Harvard College has administrative officers and counselors available to help. Some resources are as follows:
Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR)
731 Holyoke Center
617-495-9100, 24 hours
Harvard University Police Department (HUPD)
Sensitive Crimes Unit
617-495-1796, 8 am–4 pm. After these hours, HUPD, 617-495-1212
HUHS Medical After-Hours service
(nights and weekends)
HUHS Mental Health Service
Bureau of Study Counsel
5 Linden Street
(peer counseling for sexual assault, 8 pm–7 am)
Lowell House Basement E-013
Amanda Sonis Glynn
(to discuss options for pursuing a sexual harassment complaint through informal and formal discipline)
Phillips Brooks House, room 303
Beth Israel Hospital Emergency Room (West Campus) (for medical evidence collection within 5 days of a sexual assault)
Clinical Center, Pilgrim Road, Boston
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Rape Intervention Program 617-667-8141
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Hotline 99 Bishop Allen Drive (Central Square) Cambridge 617-492-RAPE or 617-492-7273
Cambridge Hospital Victims of Violence counseling program Central Street Health Clinic, Somerville 617-591-6360
If a student does not wish to use these Harvard or Community resources, HUPD and the College encourage any student who has been sexually assaulted to identify a trusted friend, family member, counselor, or other source of support to help deal with the emotional trauma he or she may experience, and know that at any time, there are additional resources available. Ideally, a good source of support will allow a survivor of sexual assault or rape to make decisions and take control over the choices they make after the assault.
Complaints of sexual misconduct may be filed with the College according to the procedures of the Administrative Board as outlined in Chapter 5 and in the Administrative Board Guide for Students. For additional information about University support and resources for sexual violence, see Chapter 6.