Dear Harvard College Students,
Earlier this morning, President Bacow shared the results of this year’s Harvard 2019 AAU Student Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct, conducted by the University in partnership with the Association of American Universities (AAU). Students across Harvard’s schools participated in this survey, along with students from 32 other colleges and universities. The results suggest that the prevalence of sexual violence at Harvard, and at the other schools surveyed, has remained the same since the AAU conducted a similar survey in 2015.
Behind each of the survey data points is a person: a close friend, a classmate, or an acquaintance. In reflecting on Harvard and our larger society, I find myself asking what it is about our beliefs, our interactions, and our taken-for-granted norms that allows this culture of sexual violence and harassment to persist. Today’s survey results serve to remind us that we have much more work to do to build a community rooted in mutual respect and dignity for every student.
The College took immediate and important action following the 2015 survey, and we are reviewing the new data to determine our next steps. Notably, this year our enrolled degree-seeking College students achieved a 100% completion rate of the College’s Title IX training, which has been required since Fall 2018. We are also working with the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR) to develop a peer-led, inter-disciplinary bystander intervention training across the College, which will be piloted in the Spring.
As we move forward, meaningful changes on our campus will rely on increasing prevention, support, and accountability among all members of our community. As always, I want to encourage you to reach out for support, to ask questions, to share concerns, or to report an incident. OSAPR connects members of our community with confidential resources and 24/7 on-call services. OSAPR also offers resources to help support friends who have experienced rape, assault, or harassment. The recently released Title IX online reporting system provides a way to anonymously disclose concerns.
I hope you will attend the community Town Hall on Thursday, October 17 at 6pm in Science Center C to discuss the survey results with various members of the Harvard community. Information about other discussions within the College, including a series of conversations with the College’s Title IX Coordinators Erin Clark and Brian Libby, will be available at the end of this week on the College’s Title IX website.
We must continue to build and sustain a community that embraces our existing challenges, yet strives for our aspirations. No person can eliminate sexual assault and misconduct alone; we have to work together.
Danoff Dean of Harvard College