Earlier this morning, President Bacow shared the results of this year’s Harvard AAU Student Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct, conducted by the University in partnership with the Association of American Universities (AAU), which GSAS has just begun reviewing. If you are interested in learning more about the University-wide results, I encourage you to attend the event that will be held on Thursday, October 17, at 6:00 p.m. in Science Center Hall C. You will also be able to watch via livestream in the Snyder Auditorium in the Kresge Building, 677 Huntington Avenue, in the Longwood Medical Area.
Your participation in this important survey was crucial, and I want to thank you for taking part. The results that President Bacow included in his email show that sexual harassment and assault at Harvard, and on campuses across the country, remain a distressing problem, and that is unacceptable. I want to reaffirm GSAS’s commitment to creating an inclusive community free of harassment and discrimination. Every member of our community—students, faculty, and staff—deserves to thrive, and as a consequence, sexual harassment and sexual assault have no place here. If you have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault, even if you feel as though the incident was not serious enough to report or that you can handle the situation yourself, please reach out to one of the resources listed at the bottom of this email. You do not have to face this alone.
This is the second such survey Harvard has undertaken. Based on the results from 2015, GSAS added a second Title IX coordinator to our student affairs team, developed a mandatory online training for students, and created new workshops and targeted trainings for students, faculty and staff. Other activities that GSAS undertakes include training for teaching fellows in departments and through the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, sessions for incoming students during orientation, resident advisor and student-staff training, departmental seminars, bystander training for directors of graduate studies, and student organization outreach. The University also recently launched an additional reporting method, an anonymous reporting tool that enables members of the Harvard community to disclose concerns about sexual and gender-based harassment to the Title IX Office. As GSAS reviews the results of the 2019 survey, we will evaluate what has changed since the survey was first offered and identify areas that require further attention.
As students, you can also help improve the climate by being an active bystander. That can be as simple as listening to a friend or colleague and providing support when it’s needed. But it also means challenging language and behaviors that violate our community’s values. If you hear someone make a disparaging comment, see someone who might be trying to take advantage of someone who is incapacitated, or witness other inappropriate behaviors, please speak up, reach out for help, and show support. If you’d like to organize a workshop on bystander intervention for your student group, program, or lab, please contact your GSAS Title IX Coordinators, Danielle Farrell and Seth Avakian.
Thank you again for participating in the Harvard Student Survey. I will communicate with you again once we have completed our review of the results.
With all best wishes,
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics