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Discrimination and Harassment

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Graduate students have the right to conduct their learning, research, and scholarship in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Discrimination on the basis of age (40+), race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and gender expression, as well as pregnancy), genetic information, ancestry, religion, caste, creed, veteran status, disability, military service, sexual orientation, or political beliefs is prohibited. 

Academic Retaliation against Student Workers

If a student is engaging in conduct protected by the HGSU-UAW bargaining agreement, or if they are participating in any investigation or proceeding arising under the bargaining agreement, it is unacceptable and prohibited to use an academic assessment or other academic actions as a means to retaliate against that student’s protected conduct. This FAS website provides more information on the Academic Retaliation Policy.

Sexual Harassment and Other Sexual Misconduct

Harvard Griffin GSAS is committed to fostering a learning community that is inclusive and supportive of everyone and promotes an environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation, denied the benefits of, or subjected to, discrimination in any University program or activity on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The FAS provides clear policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct, including sexual assault. Whenever a formal complaint of sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct is investigated in accordance with these policies and procedures, and the result is a determination that a policy violation has occurred, then the Administrative Board will be provided information on the determination so that it may consider the imposition of discipline. The Administrative Board’s function is limited to determining whether to impose discipline and, if so, the form that discipline should take.  Sanctions shall take into account the severity and impact of the conduct, the Respondent’s previous disciplinary history, any written statements submitted by the parties relevant to sanctions, and the goals of the FAS policies on sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct.  Anyone with questions about these policies and procedures or about sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct or concerns should reach out to a Harvard Griffin GSAS Title IX Resource Coordinator:

Seth Avakian, Program Director for Nondiscrimination and Professional Conduct   
414A University Hall   
617-495-9583   
avakian@fas.harvard.edu 

Katie Mulroy, Director of Student Services     
Lehman Hall, B-2   
617-495-5005    
Katie_mulroy@fas.harvard.edu 

Harvard Griffin GSAS students may contact the Office for Gender Equity (OGE) to engage in one or more of the offerings provided by the office. These include:

  • prevention and education initiatives
  • support through confidential SHARE counseling
  • making a disclosure to a Title IX resource
  • submitting an anonymous disclosure, or
  • filing a formal complaint. 

Office for Gender Equity   
Smith Campus Center, Suite 901   
Cambridge, MA 02138   
Phone: +1 (617) 496-0200

oge@harvard.edu     
Office hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

To file a formal complaint, please submit your complaint in writing to the University Title IX Coordinator at oge@harvard.edu. OGE provides more information on how to file a formal complaint.

Harvard Griffin GSAS students who want to process and understand their experiences in a confidential setting have several options, including OGE: SHARE Counselors.

SHARE Counselors (confidential)   
Smith Campus Center, Suite 624   
Cambridge, MA 02138   
Phone: +1 (617) 496-5636   
24-7 Crisis Hotline: 617-495-9100 (this line is forwarded to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center during the summer months)   
oge_share@harvard.edu

Harvard Griffin GSAS students may also contact the Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR). ODR is a neutral body that impartially investigates complaints of sexual harassment and/or other sexual misconduct against students, staff, and, with most Schools, faculty. ODR investigations are handled by professional investigators working with the involved Schools and units. Any member of the Harvard community may reach out to ODR to request information or advice, including assistance in filing a formal complaint or in seeking information resolution after a complaint has been filed. ODR operates under the Office of the Provost, working in partnership with the University’s Office for Gender Equity, Title IX Resource Coordinators, and other School or unit leadership. ODR staff are also trained to handle sensitive information with appropriate discretion. Although not a confidential resource, they protect and respect privacy to the greatest extent possible, sharing information only on a need-to-know basis.   

Office for Dispute Resolution   
Smith Campus Center, Suite 901   
Cambridge, MA 02138   
Phone: +1 (617) 495-3786   
odr@harvard.edu  
Office hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Discrimination

Harvard Griffin GSAS is committed to the principles of equal opportunity in education and employment. Discrimination on the basis of the protected categories listed in Harvard University’s Non-Discrimination Policy, which is effective September 1, 2023, is prohibited.   

As set forth in the Non-Discrimination Policy:

Discrimination is adverse treatment of an individual based on one or more of the protected characteristics listed in this Policy. In a university setting, complaints of discrimination may arise in the employment context and the education context in the following potential forms: 

Discriminatory disparate treatment is singling out or targeting an individual for less favorable treatment because of their protected characteristic. In the employment context, the less favorable treatment must negatively affect the terms and conditions of employment. In the education context, to rise to the level of discrimination, the treatment must unreasonably interfere with or limit the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the institution’s programs and activities.

Discriminatory harassment is unwelcome and offensive conduct that is based on an individual or group’s protected status. Discriminatory harassment may be considered to violate Harvard University Policy when it is so severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it creates a work, educational, or living environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive and denies the individual an equal opportunity to participate in the benefits of the workplace or the institution’s programs and activities.

Bullying

Harvard Griffin GSAS is committed to cultivating a community that is open, welcoming, and inclusive, and that supports all community members in pursuit of the University’s mission of learning, teaching, research, and discovery. As outlined in the University-Wide Statement on Rights and Responsibilities (1970), the University is “characterized by free expression, free inquiry, intellectual honesty, respect for the dignity of others, and openness to constructive change.” Bullying, hostile and abusive behavior, and power-based harassment directly threaten the ability of community members to engage in the free exchange of ideas and pursue their educational and professional goals. Bullying, as defined in Harvard University’s Anti-Bullying Policy, effective September 1, 2023, is prohibited.  

As set forth in the Anti-Bullying Policy:

Bullying, used as a shorthand for hostile and abusive behavior or power-based harassment, is defined here as harmful interpersonal aggression by words or actions that humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate, or threaten an individual or individuals. For a violation of the Policy to occur, such aggression must be sufficiently severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it creates a work, educational, or living environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive and denies the individual an equal opportunity to participate in the benefits of the workplace or the institution’s programs and activities. Unless sufficiently severe or pervasive, a single act typically would not constitute bullying.

Any Harvard Griffin GSAS student who believes that they have experienced discrimination or bullying, or has questions about the Policies, supports, resources, or their options should contact one of their local designated resources:

Stephanie Clendenin, Program Officer for Title VI, Title VII and Professional Conduct   
Office: 408 University Hall   
Phone: 617-384-0610   
clendenin@fas.harvard.edu 

Seth Avakian, Program Director for Nondiscrimination and Professional Conduct   
414A University Hall    
617-495-9583    
avakian@fas.harvard.edu  

A comprehensive list of FAS Local Designated Resources is available here: https://www.fas.harvard.edu/reports/conduct-policy/ 

Harvard Griffin GSAS students may also choose to have an informal discussion about their concerns with:

Sheila Thomas, Dean for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, and Special Projects Advisor   
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center   
1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 350   
617-496-9909   
sthomas@fas.harvard.edu 

Bill Stackman, Dean of Students   
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center   
1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 350   
617-495-1814   
williamstackman@fas.harvard.edu 

If students would like to discuss their concerns in a confidential setting, the Harvard Ombuds Office is a neutral and independent resource. Contact information for the office can be found on their staff page.

Whenever a formal complaint of discrimination or bullying is investigated in accordance with the University’s non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies and procedures, and those procedures result in a finding that a policy violation has occurred, then sanctions or remedial measures will be determined by the Appropriate Official, as set forth in those procedures.  The Administrative Board serves as the Appropriate Official for Harvard Griffin GSAS students. The Administrative Board must accept the finding of a policy violation as final and non-reviewable. The only opportunity to appeal the determination of a policy violation is provided within the University’s non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies and procedures. Decisions about sanctions and remedial measures are final and cannot be appealed.

Sanctions or remedial measures shall take into account the severity and impact of the conduct, the respondent’s previous disciplinary history, and the goals of the policy. While sanctions and remedial measures will vary, examples include but are not limited to counseling, warning, reprimand, suspension, probation, monitoring, community service, reduction in access to resources, reduction in oversight duties, reduction in salary, mandatory coaching and training, paid or unpaid leave, dismissal, expulsion, or termination. Any issuance of sanctions or remedial measures will be communicated to the respondent in writing. 

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