March 8, 2016
Dear Harvard College Students,
In her message to our community this afternoon, President Faust provided a copy of the final report of the Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force. The report details six recommendations to help Harvard address the pervasive problem of sexual assault and harassment and support our ongoing efforts to create an environment where all students can thrive and take full advantage of the opportunities the College offers.
In the past year we have taken important steps to improve sexual assault response programming and training, including the creation of the SHARE portal, to allocate additional resources for prevention initiatives, to hire a full-time Title IX officer, and to engage the entire College community in conversation about a culture change. But, as the Task Force report underscores, our work is not finished. There are numerous issues we must continue to address, chief among them concerns raised by our BGLTQ+ community and the important work of creating an environment where the dignity, rights, and differences of all of our students is respected.
Now that we have received the Task Force recommendations, the College will develop a plan to address them, which we will submit to President Faust by the end of the academic year. There are several recommendations I want to highlight because they are somewhat unique to the College. As outlined by the Task Force, we will specifically address the issues raised in the report about unrecognized single-gender social organizations. Additionally, we will convene a team to work in collaboration with the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR), the Title IX Office, the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and you as students to develop annual sexual assault prevention training, resources, and programming which will occur every year of your time at Harvard. We look forward to your crucial involvement in these efforts.
I want to strongly echo President Faust in saying that sexual assault and sexual harassment affects every member of this community — either directly or indirectly — and this conduct will not be tolerated at Harvard College. Preventing sexual assault on our campus is of the utmost importance — and it is the responsibility of each of us as community members to do our part in speaking up and stepping in to protect others and to create a culture where sexual violence of any kind is unacceptable.
I look forward to working with each of you as the College continues its efforts to address and correct the troubling and pervasive problem of sexual assault.