Harvard University announced Wednesday that it is overhauling the way it handles reports of sexual assaults and harassment, creating a centralized office to investigate allegations, a move that puts Harvard at the forefront of colleges nationally under pressure to address the problem.
University officials also said that, for the first time, Harvard would adopt uniform rules across its 13 schools, with a goal of instilling greater consistency in responding to reports of assaults. Traditionally, each school has had autonomy in how it investigates such cases.
Harvard president Drew Faust said the new policy, which takes effect this fall, “will significantly enhance Harvard’s ability to address these incidents when they occur.”
“Harvard is deeply committed to fostering an educational environment free of gender-based discrimination, particularly sexual misconduct and sexual violence, to acting vigorously on reports of discrimination, and to supporting those who have experienced it,” Faust said in a statement.
The university is revamping its policies as colleges face intense scrutiny on how they handle sexual assaults.
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