Education Law

Feds Probe: Does Harvard Law School Sexual Harassment Complaint Policy Violate Title IX?

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Responding to complaints made by an attorney on behalf of a Harvard Law School student, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating whether the HLS policy for handling sexual harassment complaints violates Title IX.

Attorney Wendy Murphy, who is a professor at New England School of Law, says it does. Essentially, the multiple filings she made last year on behalf of the unidentified student contend that the law school makes it so difficult to pursue a discrimination or sexual harassment complaint that its policy violates Title IX requirements of equal opportunities for male and female students, she tells the Harvard Law Record.

In particular, Murphy points to what she says is a HLS practice of “running out the clock” and allowing law enforcement agencies to complete their investigation before pursuing an internal probe and applying a “clear and convincing” standard of proof as incompatible with Title IX requirements.

A law school official declined to comment when contacted by the Law Record and directed the newspaper to the Department of Education, which did not immediately respond.

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