Harvard Law School violated civil rights laws

Harvard Law School has agreed to revise its sexual harassment policies following an investigation, which found the Ivy League's law school had violated civil rights laws. 

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said the school violated Title IX, a 1972 law requiring gender equality for every educational program that receives federal funding, when it failed to give a “prompt and equitable response” to two student complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault. 

In once instance, the school took over a year to rule on a complaint and then refused to let the student who complained participate in the extended appeals process. In that case, law school officials ultimately dismissed the student’s complaint and reverse their initial decision to dismiss the accused student. The Department of Education did not give any further details. 

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During the investigation, the law school adopted revised procedures that use the "preponderance of the evidence" standard for its sexual harassment investigations and afford appeal rights to both parties, in compliance with Title IX, a news release from the Department of Education said on Tuesday.

The school has agreed to take further steps to appropriately respond to student complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence. Staff members will be trained, information sessions will be held for students on school policies, the school's Title IX coordinators' contact information will be given out, information will be shared between the Harvard University Police Department and the university, and students who file complaints will be notified of their right to file a Title IX complaint with the law school and bring criminal charges against the accused. 

The Department of Education said it is now investing Harvard College and its response to sexual harassment, including sexual assault, of undergraduate students.