UPDATED 9/22/15 at 8:06 a.m.
September 21, 2015
Dear Harvard College Students,
In cooperation with the Association of American Universities and 26 other universities, Harvard conducted a confidential sexual assault climate survey last April. President Faust shared the results of that survey with you this morning. The College’s survey results are deeply distressing. My heart goes out to those who have experienced sexual assault, and I’m committed as your Dean to working with everyone in this community on ways to prevent it.
In her email, President Faust asked each of the Schools, including the College, to develop a plan for engagement and action on sexual assault at Harvard. This is a problem that no one group or tactic can sufficiently address; it will require all our collective efforts. In the coming days, the College will engage students and staff in community discussions about how we can change the culture on campus to prevent sexual assault and harassment.
The College will come together as a community to begin this work. Beginning tomorrow and continuing through September 25th, the College and the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR) staff will conduct four community town hall discussions. My hope is that these discussions focus on ways to promote relationships within the Harvard community that are based on both dignity and respect. You will receive specific details about each of these events tomorrow from Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde.
In the meantime, I want to remind each of you that the University created the SHARE site, a comprehensive resource to connect all members of our community with support and information about rape and sexual harassment. Through SHARE, you can connect with resources including confidential counseling, information about filing a complaint, specially trained 24/7 emergency services, and other support services. SHARE also offers resources to help you support friends who have experienced rape, assault, or harassment.
We have it in our power to make Harvard better. We will use the survey results to better understand the current climate on campus regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault and to inform initiatives and decisions that create a culture on this campus where everyone can thrive. This is a moment for all of us to take stock of what we stand for as a community and to make the changes here at Harvard that we would like to see in the world.