Harvard’s Sexual Assault Procedures to Change

Harvard sexual assault processes are continuing to change with Title IX Office restructuring.

Harvard University officials announced changes to the Title IX Office’s investigative and training divisions April 5.

The changes create two separate offices for administrators that investigate claims of sexual assault and those who provide training and resources, reports The Harvard Crimson.

Investigations will be handled by the Office of Dispute Resolution, which is replacing the Office of Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution. Acting Title IX Officer Bill D. McCants will be the director of the new office.

New Title IX Officer Nicole M. Merhill will focus on Harvard sexual assault prevention training initiatives and support programs for victims of sexual assault.

RELATED: Survey: 15 Percent of UT Austin Female Students Raped

Both Merhill and McCants are civil rights attorneys who worked together at the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The two officials will report to Deputy Provost Peggy E. Newell.

Harvard Sexual Assault Procedures Scrutinized

Newell said the changes are the result of conversations she’s had with the Harvard community and concerns some have expressed about the Title IX Officer overseeing both investigations and prevention efforts.

Newell also said the office will expand its training and educational programs as the department continues to grow.

The Law School created its own set of procedures for handling sexual assault at Harvard after 28 law professors argued the university’s central policy was unfair to accused students.

The announcement also comes three months after Title IX Officer Mia Karvonides left the university to work for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

The university’s Title IX office was formed in 2014. The Harvard sexual assault policy changed significantly under Karvonides.

Read Next: 5 Steps to Consider When Reviewing the New Clery Act Handbook

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo