Policies and Standards of Conduct

Policy on Personal Conduct
A free environment for academic pursuits requires reasonable conduct, both in academic and nonacademic affairs, by all members of the school.  The faculty may impose discipline or penalties on individuals for acts that disrupt or endanger the university community’s pursuit of teaching, learning, and research in an atmosphere of free inquiry and personal and psychological security. The faculty may consider sanctions whether or not civil or criminal penalties are imposed. Violation of specific domains considered here include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, sexual and racial harassment, the use of physical violence, and lying to an officer. Procedures for disciplinary hearings and sanctions are described in the section below titled Review Process.

The Student’s Responsibility 
Students are bound by those policies of Harvard University and the Graduate School of Design that govern student conduct. Access to and familiarity with the policies that govern student conduct are a right and responsibility of every student and students are expected to be familiar with those policies.  Such a learning environment depends upon considerate behavior toward all members, respect for one another’s privacy, and accurate representation of one’s own work.  Students, faculty, and staff are subject to the policies of Harvard University that govern the conduct of members of the School as articulated in the University-wide Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

View here:  provost.harvard.edu/university-wide-statement-rights-and-responsibilities

Respect for Others and Their Property 
Behavior should be respectful of the rights, privileges, and sensibilities of other people, whether or not they are members of the academic community, and their property, whether or not it is university property. Intimidating, threatening, or hostile behavior toward others is a violation of this policy and may subject the offender to school and university sanctions. Likewise, willful destruction, theft and vandalism of the work or possessions of another student or group of students or of any educational resource (including computers and library materials) and unauthorized use of property are unacceptable and may also subject the offender to sanctions.

Personal Safety 
Willful behavior that endangers the personal safety of others, whether or not they are members of the GSD, is a violation of school policies and may subject the offender to sanctions. Riots, violent intimidation or threats, use of weapons, physical assault, and any other acts that endanger the physical well-being of individuals are violations of this policy.  As discussed below, the GSD has adopted the University-wide Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy (“University Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy”).

Protests and Demonstrations 
Freedom of speech and assembly, including spontaneous and organized protests and demonstrations, is an essential part of both academic life and the culture of the United States. However, protesters and demonstrators are obliged to respect the rights of other individuals and especially to ensure personal safety for all participants. Although peaceful demonstrations are a matter of civil rights, it is a violation of this policy for any member of the GSD community to prevent or disrupt university functions, such as lectures, seminars, reviews, meetings, and other public events; and administrative, study, design, research, interview, and other nonpublic activities.

Contact Persons 
Anyone who has reason to believe that a student has engaged in conduct that violated the school’s policies on academic integrity, respect for others and their property, personal safety, or protests and demonstrations should report the matter to an appropriate faculty member or program director, or to any officer of the administration.  Anyone wishing to report a violation of the University Policy should begin by contacting the Harvard University Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution (“ODR”) or the relevant School or unit Title IX Coordinator.  In the event that the first GSD officer to whom someone reports an alleged violation of the University Policy is not the appropriate Title IX Coordinator, it is that GSD officer’s responsibility to forward the matter either to ODR or to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator.

Discrimination

Nondiscrimination Policy
In accordance with Harvard University policy, the Graduate School of Design does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, age, national origin, ancestry, veteran status, disability, genetic information, military service, or any other legally protected basis, in admission to, access to, or employment in its programs and activities. Every effort will be made to ensure fairness and consistency in the school’s relations with its students, faculty and staff. The GSD’s procedures for responding to incidents of discrimination are described in the section, ‘Review Process’ below.

Contact Persons 
A student of the GSD community who believes that any form of prohibited discrimination has occurred should bring this matter forward for review. (See section ‘Review Process’ below, for a description of the review process.) The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination programs:

32 Smith Center,
Cambridge, MA 02138
617 495 3786
disabilityservice@harvard.edu

Director of Human Resources
Harvard University
Graduate School of Design
48 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617 495 4323

Dean of Students
Harvard University
Graduate School of Design
48 Quincy Street,
Cambridge, MA 02138
617 496 1236

The University 504 Compliance Coordinator is responsible for coordinating Harvard’s efforts on behalf of individuals with disabilities. In addition, inquiries regarding the application of nondiscrimination policies regarding race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or handicap may be referred to:

Regional Director
Office for Civil Rights, Boston Office
U.S. Department of Education
J. W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse
Room 222, 01-0061
Boston, MA 02109-4557

Policy on Academic Conduct

See separate webpage for  academic misconduct policies and procedures .

Review Process for Violations of the Policies on Student Conduct and Non-Discrimination

Informal Complaint Process

Cases of violations of the GSD student conduct policy or discrimination may be resolved informally. The dean of students will discuss this option with the subject of the possible violation, the “complainant.” If the complainant wishes to explore that avenue, this might result in an informal conference with the complainant, the student who allegedly violated GSD policy, “the respondent,” and the dean of students. The informal review will normally be completed within 60 days of the initial report of a possible violation to the dean of students.

Formal Complaint Process

If a satisfactory resolution cannot be found through an informal approach, and the complainant wishes to pursue the matter (or elects not to seek an informal resolution), the complainant will confer with the dean of students and submit a written complaint to the dean of students. The written complaint should specify the following:

a. The full name and address of the complainant;

b. The name and address (if known) of the respondent or respondents (person or persons against whom the charge is made);

c. A statement of the facts that support the allegation of a violation of the University Policy;

d. The date or dates and location of the alleged acts or practices.

Attached to the complaint should be a list of any sources of information (for example, witnesses, correspondence, and the like) that the complainant believes might be relevant to the investigation, but a complaint should not be delayed if such sources of information are unknown or unavailable.
The University does not limit the timeframe for filing a complaint, although a complainant is encouraged to file as soon as reasonably possible both for effective gathering of information, and also to allow time for the Review Board to review the case, if necessary, in the likelihood that the respondent is graduating or is no longer employed by the University.
Although the initiation of a complaint in cases involving student conduct will be addressed by the Review Board panel, however, it may also be suggested or required, depending on the circumstances, that the Harvard University Police Department be notified. In cases that involve a civil suit, the dean may decide to proceed with a review independently of the suit or may decline to review a case that is considered to be in the purview of the civil courts only.

Review Board Procedures

The Review Board

The Review Board will be comprised of six voting members of the Faculty of Design serving staggered three-year terms, of whom one will be designated chair by the dean. Three members of the Review Board will be elected, one from each academic department. The dean will appoint three at-large members and will also appoint an officer of the administration to serve as an ex-officio (nonvoting) member of the board. All formal complaints and charges will be reviewed by a panel consisting of at least three faculty members normally selected from among the members of the Review Board in advance plus the nonvoting member of the board. Either the respondent or complainant may challenge participation by any member of the Review Board reviewing the case in question, by written petition to the Dean of Students. For good cause, as determined by the Dean of the Faculty of Design, the challenged board member shall be replaced by another board member.

Investigation of Facts
The panel appointed by the Review Board may investigate the facts or may request that an appropriate member of the university community investigate and report in writing. This process is normally completed within 30 days of receiving the written statements from the complainant and respondent. Due consideration will be given to the privacy of all involved parties. The respondent and complainant or their designees will be provided with the opportunity to review the written investigative report in the Office of Student Services (Gund 422, 617 495 5454) within 15 days from the date that the panel receives the report.

Hearing
The panel may hold a hearing to consider whether any violations of institutional policy have occurred. If the Review Board panel decides to combine the investigation and hearing procedures, the first hearing will be scheduled within 30 days of receiving the written statements from the complainant and respondent. Otherwise, the hearing will be scheduled within 30 days of completion of the investigative report.

The panel must give notice of at least 10 days to all parties prior to the aforementioned hearing. The hearing will not be open to the public. Participation will be determined by the panel. Normally, the complainant and the respondent may each bring an advisor to the hearing. Since the hearing process is not a legal proceeding, legal counsel may not be present. A record of the hearing will be kept by the Dean of Students for a minimum of three years and will be considered confidential. The panel will forward its findings and any recommendation for sanctions to the dean. The panel’s report will be supported by specific findings of fact and conclusion, including, wherever appropriate, a statement of the reasons for the specific sanction and the principles or policies on which the panel relied in recommending the sanction. The panel’s report will normally be completed within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing. The panel will provide both parties or their designees with an opportunity to view its written report in the Office of Student Services. Either party may submit a response to the dean within ten days of the panel’s report becoming available.

Panel Decisions
Upon agreement of the complainant and respondent, the panel may waive any step(s) in these procedures. The panel may determine at any point in these procedures that, based on the information available, insufficient evidence exists to warrant further review or possible sanctions. The panel will notify all concerned parties of this finding and consider the matter closed, except as provided in the Appeal section below.

Sanctions  
When a violation of the GSD Policy is found to have occurred, the Review Board panel will consider the imposition of appropriate sanctions.  The complainant and the respondent will be notified.

In the event that the respondent is a member of the GSD faculty, the panel will forward its findings to the dean for consideration and possible action according to the policies and procedures that govern faculty.

A degree will not be granted to a student who is not in good standing or against whom a disciplinary charge is pending. Sanctions for a student may include, but are not limited to, admonition, reprimand, fines, restitutions, probation, mandatory leave of absence, involuntary leave of absence, requirements to withdraw, dismissal, a note of explanation on the student’s transcript, or expulsion. If minor sanctions (e.g., admonition, reprimand, fines, probation, or separation) or withdrawal are recommended by the panel, the dean will review the panel’s recommendations, with supporting materials, and take appropriate action. The decision of the dean will be made within 30 days of receipt of the panel’s report, and is final, except as provided in the Appeal section below. If major sanctions (dismissal, or expulsion) are recommended by the panel, the Student Sanctions Committee will meet to review the recommendation and take final action.  At least seven (7) of the nine (9) Committee members must be present. In accordance with the Eleventh Statute of the University, no student shall be dismissed or expelled except by a two thirds (2/3) vote in favor by members of the Committee present and voting thereon. The final action of the Committee shall be communicated to the parties in writing within 15 days. A summary of the case, and the final action taken by Committee will be reported to the full voting faculty at its next meeting.

The sanction of ‘dismissal’ does not necessarily preclude a student’s return to the GSD. A dismissed student may petition for readmission and be readmitted only upon a two thirds (2/3) vote in favor by members of the Committee. At least of seven (7) of the nine (9) Committee members must be present.

The decision of the Student Sanctions Committee is final, except as provided in the Appeal section below. The faculty’s decision shall be communicated to the parties in writing within 15 days.

Appeals   
All sanctions or other decisions (including denial of a hearing) are subject to appeal. An appeal may be directed to the dean within 30 days of the decision in question. Appeals will generally be granted only on the basis of new evidence or significant procedural error. In cases where the appeal pertains to a lesser sanction, the dean’s ruling on the appeal will be made within 30 days and is final. In cases where the appeal pertains to a major sanction, and the result of the appeal is a recommendation by the dean for a change in sanction, a new vote of the Student Sanctions Committee is required. At that time, the Committee’s decision is final., All parties in a case will be notified in writing of the disposition of the appeal within 30 days of such disposition.

 

Disclosure

The GSD is allowed to disclose the results of a disciplinary proceeding against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence to the alleged victim of that crime without the prior written consent of the alleged perpetrator.

Panel Discretion
The panel may, in its discretion and for good cause, alter any deadlines in these procedures.

Sexual and Gender Based Harassment

The GSD has adopted the University-wide Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy.

The University Policy is reproduced in its entirety below.

Harvard University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the University community is, on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity. Gender-based and sexual harassment, including sexual violence, are forms of sex discrimination in that they deny or limit an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities.

This Policy is designed to ensure a safe and non-discriminatory educational and work environment and to meet legal requirements, including: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the University’s programs or activities; relevant sections of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in employment; and Massachusetts laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It does not preclude application or enforcement of other University or School policies.

It is the policy of the University to provide educational, preventative and training programs regarding sexual or gender-based harassment; to encourage reporting of incidents; to prevent incidents of sexual and gender-based harassment from denying or limiting an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs; to make available timely services for those who have been affected by discrimination; and to provide prompt and equitable methods of investigation and resolution to stop discrimination, remedy any harm, and prevent its recurrence. Violations of this Policy may result in the imposition of sanctions up to, and including, termination, dismissal, or expulsion, as determined by the appropriate officials at the School or unit.

Retaliation against an individual for raising an allegation of sexual or gender-based harassment, for cooperating in an investigation of such a complaint, or for opposing discriminatory practices is prohibited. Submitting a complaint that is not in good faith or providing false or misleading information in any investigation of complaints is also prohibited.

Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to abridge academic freedom and inquiry, principles of free speech, or the University’s educational mission.

Definitions 

Sexual Harassment 
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when: (1) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing or is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement (quid pro quo); or (2) such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s education or work programs or activities (hostile environment).

Quid pro quo sexual harassment can occur whether a person resists and suffers the threatened harm, or the person submits and avoids the threatened harm. Both situations could constitute discrimination on the basis of sex.

A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single severe episode. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment. Sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, and domestic and dating violence, is a form of sexual harassment. In addition, the following conduct may violate this Policy:

•    Observing, photographing, videotaping, or making other visual or auditory records of sexual activity or nudity, where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, without the knowledge and consent of all parties

•    Sharing visual or auditory records of sexual activity or nudity without the knowledge and consent of all recorded parties and recipient(s)

•    Sexual advances, whether or not they involve physical touching

•    Commenting about or inappropriately touching an individual’s body

•    Requests for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job benefits, such as favorable reviews, salary increases, promotions, increased benefits, or continued employment

•    Lewd or sexually suggestive comments, jokes, innuendoes, or gestures

•    Stalking

Other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct may create a hostile environment if the conduct is sufficiently persistent, pervasive, or severe so as to deny a person equal access to the University’s programs or activities. Whether the conduct creates a hostile environment may depend on a variety of factors, including: the degree to which the conduct affected one or more person’s education or employment; the type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; the relationship between the parties; the number of people involved; and the context in which the conduct occurred.

Unwelcome Conduct  
Conduct is unwelcome if a person (1) did not request or invite it and (2) regarded the unrequested or uninvited conduct as undesirable or offensive. That a person welcomes some sexual contact does not necessarily mean that person welcomes other sexual contact. Similarly, that a person willingly participates in conduct on one occasion does not necessarily mean that the same conduct is welcome on a subsequent occasion.

Whether conduct is unwelcome is determined based on the totality of the circumstances, including various objective and subjective factors. The following types of information may be helpful in making that determination: statements by any witnesses to the alleged incident; information about the relative credibility of the parties and witnesses; the detail and consistency of each person’s account; the absence of corroborating information where it should logically exist; information that the Respondent has been found to have harassed others; information that the Complainant has been found to have made false allegations against others; information about the Complainant’s reaction or behavior after the alleged incident; and information about any actions the parties took immediately following the incident, including reporting the matter to others.

In addition, when a person is so impaired or incapacitated as to be incapable of requesting or inviting the conduct, conduct of a sexual nature is deemed unwelcome, provided that the Respondent knew or reasonably should have known of the person’s impairment or incapacity. The person may be impaired or incapacitated as a result of drugs or alcohol or for some other reason, such as sleep or unconsciousness. A Respondent’s impairment at the time of the incident as a result of drugs or alcohol does not, however, diminish the Respondent’s responsibility for sexual or gender-based harassment under this Policy.

Gender-Based Harassment  
Gender-based harassment is verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostile conduct based on sex, sex-stereotyping, sexual orientation or gender identity, but not involving conduct of a sexual nature, when such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s education or work programs or activities. For example, persistent disparagement of a person based on a perceived lack of stereotypical masculinity or femininity or exclusion from an activity based on sexual orientation or gender identity also may violate this Policy.

Consensual Romantic Relationships 

Unprofessional Conduct in Relationships between Individuals of Different University Status
Amorous relationships that might be appropriate in other circumstances always have inherent dangers when they occur between any teacher or officer of the university and any person for whom he or she has a professional responsibility (i.e., as teacher, advisor, evaluator, supervisor). Implicit in the idea of professionalism is the recognition by those in positions of authority that in their relationships with students or staff there is always an element of power. It is incumbent upon those with authority not to abuse, nor seem to abuse, the power with which they are entrusted.

GSD officers and other members of the teaching staff should be aware that any romantic involvement with their students may make them liable for formal action against them. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to the development of such a relationship, it is the officer or instructor who, by virtue of his or her special responsibility and educational mission, will be held accountable for unprofessional behavior. Teaching fellows, or teaching assistants may be less accustomed than faculty members to thinking of themselves as holding professional responsibilities, but they, too, are subject to this policy. They may need to exercise special care in their relationships with students whom they instruct, evaluate, or otherwise supervise, recognizing that their students might view them as more powerful than they may perceive themselves to be.

Amorous relationships between members of the faculty and/or with students that occur outside of any direct or formal relationship can also lead to difficulties. In personal relationships between individuals with whom there is no current, direct line of professional responsibility and authority, the senior person should be sensitive to the constant possibility that he or she may unexpectedly be placed in a position of responsibility for a student’s instruction or a faculty member’s evaluation. This could involve being called upon to write a letter of recommendation or to serve on an admissions or selection committee involving the other individual. In addition, one should be aware that others may speculate that a specific power relationship exists even when there is none, giving rise to assumptions of inequitable academic or professional advantage for the student or faculty member involved. Relationships between officers and students or senior and junior faculty are categorically discouraged by the GSD, and may fall under the purview of this policy

Jurisdiction

This Policy applies to sexual or gender-based harassment that is committed by students, faculty, staff, Harvard appointees, or third parties, whenever the misconduct occurs:

1. On Harvard property; or

2. Off Harvard property, if:

a) the conduct was in connection with a University or University-recognized program or activity; or

b) the conduct may have the effect of creating a hostile environment for a member of the University community.

Monitoring and Confidentiality 

A variety of resources are available at the University and in the area to assist those who have experienced gender-based or sexual harassment, including sexual violence.

Individuals considering making a disclosure to University resources should make sure they have informed expectations concerning privacy and confidentiality. The University is committed to providing all possible assistance in understanding these issues and helping individuals to make an informed decision.

It is important to understand that, while the University will treat information it has received with appropriate sensitivity, University personnel may nonetheless need to share certain information with those at the University responsible for stopping or preventing sexual or gender-based harassment. For example, University officers, other than those who are prohibited from reporting because of a legal confidentiality obligation or prohibition against reporting, must promptly notify the School or unit Title IX Coordinator about possible sexual or gender-based harassment, regardless of whether a complaint is filed. Such reporting is necessary for various reasons, including to ensure that persons possibly subjected to such conduct receive appropriate services and information; that the University can track incidents and identify patterns; and that, where appropriate, the University can take steps to protect the Harvard community. This reporting by University officers will not necessarily result in a complaint; rather, the School or unit Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Officer, will assess the information and determine what action, if any, will be taken. Information will be disclosed in this manner only to those at the University who, in the judgment of the Title IX Officer or School or unit Title IX Coordinator, have a need to know.

Should individuals desire to discuss an incident or other information only with persons who are subject to a legal confidentiality obligation or prohibition against reporting, they should ask University officers for information about such resources, which are available both at the University and elsewhere. University officers are available to discuss these other resources and to assist individuals in making an informed decision.

Resources 
• Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (24 hours) | 617-495-9100
• Harvard University Police Department | 617-495-1212 (Provides transportation to the Beth Israel Hospital or a hospital of your choice.)
• Harvard University Health Services | 617-495-5711
• HUHS Behavioral Health Services | 617-495-2323
• Bureau of Study Counsel | 617-495-2581• Harvard Chaplains | 617-495-5529
• Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Rape Crisis Intervention Center | 617-667-8141
• Boston Area Rape Crisis Center | 617-492-8306 or 1-800-841-8371
• Cambridge Police Department | 617-349-3300
• Employee Assistance Program | 877-327-4278

Local Title IX Coordinators

Title IX Coordinator for Students:
Laura Snowdon
lsnowdon@gsd.harvard.edu
Dean of Students
48 Quincy Street, Gund Hall 422
617-496-1236

Gail Gustafson
ggustafson@gsd.harvard.edu
Co-Director of Admissions
48 Quincy Street, Gund Hall 422
617-496-1238

Title IX Coordinator for Faculty:
Pamela Baldwin
pamela_baldwin@harvard.edu
Asst. Dean for Faculty Affairs
48 Quincy Street, Gund Hall 409c
617-495-5409

Title IX Coordinator for Staff: 
Sara Wilkinson
swilkinson@gsd.harvard.edu and
Lauren Baccus
lbaccus@gsd.harvard.edu
Directors of Human Resources
7 Sumner Road, suite 203
617-495-4322

University-wide Title IX Officer:
617-495-4134
The Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution (ODR).

Violations of Other Rules 
The University encourages the reporting of all concerns regarding sexual or gender-based harassment. Sometimes individuals are hesitant to report instances of sexual or gender-based harassment because they fear they may be charged with other policy violations, such as underage alcohol consumption. Because the University has a paramount interest in protecting the well-being of its community and remedying sexual or gender-based harassment, other policy violations will be considered, if necessary, separately from allegations under this Policy.

Other Forms of Harassment

The following addresses the GSD’s policies governing harassment that is not covered by the University Policy.

Harassment can create an environment in which access to education and employment is diminished. The GSD seeks to maintain an atmosphere free of harassment.  There are obligations of civility and respect for others that underlie rational discourse. Harassment not only shows grave disrespect for the dignity of others but also impedes the free discussion and exchange of ideas. This policy statement seeks to define the circumstances under which behavior affecting the GSD community may constitute impermissible harassment and grounds for disciplinary action. It also seeks to clarify the point at which protected free expression ends and prohibited harassment begins.

Policy 
It is impermissible for any member of the GSD community to engage in harassment of others. This includes, but is not limited to, harassment based on characteristics such as race, color, national origin, religion, age, creed, ancestry, veteran status, or disability. Harassment is particularly objectionable when it involves the abuse of GSD authority. Such behavior, as defined in the following section, may be grounds for disciplinary action such as censure, probation, separation, dismissal, or expulsion.

Definitions

Physical Harassment  
Certain physical acts may constitute harassment. These include, but are not limited to, assault, unwelcome touching, physical intimidation, defacing or damaging property, interference with freedom of movement, and other forms of behavior that violate federal or state civil rights law.  Such acts are impermissible whether or not they are based on characteristics such as race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability status. The fact that physical harassment may be accompanied by verbal or symbolic expression does not make the physical harassment less punishable.

Verbal or Symbolic Harassment 
Certain purely verbal or symbolic expression may also constitute harassment.  Epithets, threats and other abusive expressions, or unwelcome comments may constitute harassment and are impermissible if, from the standpoint of a reasonable person, they are sufficiently severe or pervasive to affect adversely an individual’s working or learning environment. This category includes but is not limited to, expressions based on such characteristics as race, ethic group, religious belief, disability status, or age.  Depending on the circumstances, verbal expressions may be punishable where, from the standpoint of a reasonable person, they (1) are addressed directly to an individual or several individuals; (2) insult, stigmatize, or intimidate the individual(s); and (3) evince on the part of the speaker(s) grave disrespect and intent to demean the individual(s).

Racial Harassment 
The GSD seeks to maintain an instructional environment free from racial harassment.  The GSD defines racial and ethnic harassment as actions on the part of an individual or group that demean or abuse another individual or group because of race, national origin, or ancestry.  Such actions may include but are not restricted to using racial epithets, making racially derogatory remarks, and using racial or ethnic stereotypes.

Resolution of Harassment Concerns 
GSD has incorporated the University’s Procedures for Handling Complaints Involving Students Pursuant to the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy. In connection with concerns relating to other forms of harassment, a student of the GSD community who believes that harassment has occurred or would like clarification or information on the GSD complaint and resolution procedures, is encouraged to bring this matter to the attention of the dean of students.   (See ‘Review Policies’ for a description of the review process.)

Review Process

Review Process for Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Cases 
The GSD has incorporated the University’s Procedures for Handling Complaints Involving Students Pursuant to the [University’s] Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy, including for purposes of student discipline.  The procedures with respect to alleged harassment by a Harvard student are contained in the University policies available here: diversity.harvard.edu/pages/title-ix-sexual-harassment . None of the provisions outlined here contradict or replace any provisions of the University Procedures.  These provisions are intended to supplement the University Procedures and detail the GSD role at moments when the University Procedures refer to actions taken or decisions made by the “School or unit.”  To the extent any existing GSD policies and procedures interfere with compliance with the University Policy and Procedures, application of such GSD policies and procedures should be suspended. The provisions in the University Procedures are not reproduced below.  For a complete understanding of the procedures concerning alleged sexual or gender-based harassment by GSD students, students should review the University Procedures in conjunction with these supplemental provisions.

The ODR has been charged with implementing the procedures for students pursuant to the University Policy.  The ODR operates under the Office of the Assistant to the President for Institutional Diversity and Equity with oversight by the University’s Title IX Officer, working in partnership with the School or unit Title IX Coordinators, and other School or unit leadership.

Harvard students, faculty, staff, other Harvard appointees, or third parties who believe they are directly affected by the conduct of a Harvard student (collectively, “initiating parties”) may: request information or advice, including whether certain conduct may violate the University Policy; seek informal resolution; or file a formal complaint.  Initiating parties are encouraged to bring their concerns to the relevant School or unit Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Officer, or other staff in ODR, but may, if they choose, contact another School or University officer, who will refer the matter as appropriate.

As set forth below, interim measures designed to support and protect the initiating party or the University community may be considered or implemented at any time, including during a request for information or advice, informal resolution, or a formal complaint proceeding.  Consistent with GSD policy, interim measures might include, among others: restrictions on contact; course-schedule or work-schedule alteration; changes in housing; leaves of absence; or increased monitoring of certain areas of the campus.  These interim measures are subject to review and revision throughout the processes described below, and the initiating party can discuss them with the GSD’s Title IX coordinator or the ODR at any time.

When the allegations, if true, might constitute criminal conduct, the party against whom they are brought is hereby advised to seek legal counsel before making any written or oral statements. Those facing allegations may wish to obtain legal advice about how this process could affect any criminal case in which they are or may become involved.

Informal Review  
An informal complaint may be made either orally or in writing.  It operates as a request to the Title IX coordinator or the Title IX officer to initiate efforts to aid the parties in finding a mutually acceptable resolution.  The individual should identify the alleged harasser (if known) and describe the allegations with specificity.  The Title IX coordinator or the Title IX officer will assess the severity of the alleged harassment and the potential risk of a hostile environment for others in the community to determine whether informal resolution may be appropriate. The Title IX coordinator or Title IX officer will also consider whether to put in place any interim measures designed to support the complainant (the person making the complaint) and/or the University community.

Upon determining that informal resolution is appropriate, the Title IX officer will assign an investigator who, in collaboration with the Title IX coordinator, will consult further with the person initiating the request, inform the person who is the subject of the allegations, and gather relevant information and communicate with the parties and others, as necessary.  The Title IX coordinator will explore with the complainant various alternatives for resolving the matter. These may include, among other possibilities, an informal conference with the complainant, the subject of the possible violation, and others, as appropriate. At any time, students interested in confidential counseling about options and resources can also contact the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (http://osapr.harvard.edu/).  A matter will be deemed satisfactorily resolved when both parties expressly agree to an outcome that is also acceptable to the School or unit Title coordinator.  At any point prior to such an express agreement, the person who brought the complaint may withdraw the request for informal resolution and initiate a formal complaint under these procedures.

Ordinarily, the informal resolution process will be concluded within two to three weeks of the date of the initial report of a possible violation.  Please note that the Title IX officer may not approve an informal resolution if it is a sexual assault allegation.

Initiation of Formal Complaint  
If a satisfactory resolution cannot be found through an informal approach, and the complainant wishes to pursue the matter (or would prefer to file a formal complaint alleging a violation of the University Policy), the complainant can file a formal complaint with ODR. The complaint must be in writing and signed and dated by the complainant.  The complaint should specify the following:

a. The full name and address of the complainant;

b. The name and address (if known) of the respondent or respondents (person or persons against whom the charge is made);

c. A statement of the facts that support the allegation of a violation of the University Policy;

d. The date or dates and location of the alleged acts or practices.
Attached to the complaint should be a list of any sources of information (for example, witnesses, correspondence, and the like) that the complainant believes might be relevant to the investigation, but a complaint should not be delayed if such sources of information are unknown or unavailable.

The University does not limit the timeframe for filing a complaint, although a complainant is encouraged to file as soon as reasonably possible both for effective gathering of information, and also to allow time for a disciplinary body to review the case in the likelihood that the respondent is graduating or is no longer employed by the University.

Referral of Complaints Against Staff, Faculty, Other Harvard Appointees, or Third Parties
If the subject of the possible violation is a faculty member, staff member, other Harvard appointee, or third party, ODR promptly will provide the appropriate Title IX coordinator with a copy of the complaint.  The School or unit Title IX coordinator, in consultation with other Harvard officers, will determine whether some or all of the allegations will be handled at the School or unit level, or whether ODR will conduct all or part of any investigation.

The Formal Complaint Process  
In the event a complaint is raised against a GSD student, once the complaint is received by the ODR, the Title IX officer will assign the case to an investigator for an initial review.  The GSD may assign another individual, the “designee” to work jointly with the investigator.  The investigative team will contact the complainant in an attempt to gather a more complete understanding of the allegations, as well as any related conduct that may implicate the University Policy.  The investigative team will gather information and determine whether the information, if true, would constitute a violation of the policy such that an investigation is warranted.  This decision will be communicated to the complainant, the Title IX officer, and the GSD’s Title IX coordinator.  Ordinarily, the initial review will be concluded within one week of the date the complaint was received.

Following the decision to begin an investigation, the investigative team will notify the respondent in writing of the allegations and will provide a copy of the University Policy and the University Procedures.  The respondent will have one week in which to submit a written statement in response to the allegations.

If the decision is made to begin an investigation in a case where the complainant is unwilling to participate but the School has assessed the severity of the allegations and the potential risk of a hostile environment for others in the community and has determined to proceed, then for the purposes of the University Procedures, the School Title IX coordinator or a designee will be considered the complainant.

Both the complainant and the respondent may bring a personal advisor to any interviews with the Investigative Team. A personal advisor should be an officer of the University who is affiliated with the School or unit in which the advisee is enrolled or employed, but may not be related to anyone involved in the complaint or have any other involvement in the process. In the case of students enrolled in interdisciplinary programs, their official academic advisor also may serve as their personal advisor.  Personal advisors may view a redacted version of the complaint or other documents provided to the parties, offer feedback on their advisee’s written statements, and provide general advice.  During interviews, personal advisors may not speak for their advisees, although they may ask to suspend the interviews briefly if they feel their advisees would benefit from a short break.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigative team will evaluate the evidence and make findings of fact, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard, and will determine whether there has been a violation of the policy.  The investigative team will draft an investigative report.  Both parties have the opportunity to review the report before it is finalized and will have one week in which to give written feedback.  The report will then be finalized and sent to the parties and the School of the respondent.  If a violation is found, disciplinary action is determined by the School’s administrative board.  If the respondent is a GSD student, the case then goes before the GSD’s Review Board, as discussed.

The Review Board

The Review Board will be comprised of six voting members of the Faculty of Design serving staggered three-year terms, of whom one will be designated chair by the dean. Three members of the Review Board will be elected, one from each academic department. The dean will appoint three at-large members and will also appoint an officer of the administration to serve as an ex-officio (nonvoting) member of the board. All formal complaints and charges will be reviewed by a panel consisting of at least three faculty members normally selected from among the members of the Review Board in advance plus the nonvoting member of the board. Either the respondent or complainant may challenge participation by any member of the Review Board reviewing the case in question, by written petition to the Dean of Students. For good cause, as determined by the Dean of the Faculty of Design, the challenged board member shall be replaced by another board member.

Review Board Procedures in Sexual/Gender-Based Harassment Cases

Sanctions
When a violation of the University Policy is found to have occurred, the GSD’s Review Board panel will consider the imposition of appropriate sanctions.  The complainant and the respondent will be notified.  Within three days of notification, the complainant and respondent may each submit a written statement to the Review Board.  The statements will be provided to the other party as well as other officers of Harvard as the Review Board panel deems appropriate.  The statements may not challenge the validity of the findings and conclusions contained in the final report, and also may not introduce facts that could have been presented to the Investigative team or that conflict with any of the findings in the final report.

The panel will accept as final and non-reviewable the report’s findings of fact and its conclusions as to whether a violation of the University Policy has occurred.  The Review Board’s disciplinary proceedings against the respondent based on conduct addressed by the report will proceed with the understanding that the final report carries the same validity as a determination reached by the Review Board itself.

The Review Board panel will determine any recommendations of sanctions and will forward any such recommendations to the dean.  The panel’s report will be supported, where appropriate, by a statement of the reasons for the specific sanction and the principles or policies on which the panel relied in recommending the sanction. The panel will provide both parties or their designees with an opportunity to view its written report in the Office of Student Services.  Either party may submit a response to the dean within three days of the panel’s report becoming available.  However, the only opportunity to appeal the findings related to the University Policy is provided by the ODR.  Appeals within the GSD, including appeals to the dean, pertain only to the decision of the Review Board in determining discipline.

A degree will not be granted to a student who is not in good standing or against whom a disciplinary charge is pending.

Sanctions for a student may include, but are not limited to, admonition, probation, separation, requirements to withdraw, dismissal, or expulsion. If minor sanctions (e.g., admonition, probation, or separation) or withdrawal are recommended by the panel, the dean will review the panel’s recommendations, with supporting materials, and take appropriate action. If major sanctions (dismissal, or expulsion) are recommended by the panel, the Student Sanctions Committee will meet to review the recommendation and take final action.  At least seven (7) of the nine (9) Committee members must be present. In accordance with the Eleventh Statute of the University, no student shall be dismissed or expelled except by a two thirds (2/3) vote in favor by members of the Committee present and voting thereon. The final action of the Committee shall be communicated to the parties in writing within 15 days. A summary of the case, and the final action taken by Committee will be reported to the full voting faculty at its next meeting.

The sanction of ‘dismissal’ does not necessarily preclude a student’s return to the GSD. A dismissed student may petition for readmission and be readmitted only upon a two thirds (2/3) vote in favor by members of the Committee. At least of seven (7) of the nine (9) Committee members must be present.

 

Appeals
Either party may appeal the faculty’s decision in writing within three days after the faculty’s decision is communicated. Again, however, the appeal may pertain only to the disciplinary recommendation.

In cases where the appeal pertains to a major sanction, and the result of the appeal is a recommendation by the dean for a change in sanction, a new vote of the Student Sanctions Committee is required. At that time, the Committee’s decision is final,

 

Disclosure

Disclosure of the final sanctions decision shall be made as appropriate to the respondent and the complainant.

Panel Discretion
The panel may, in its discretion and for good cause, alter any deadlines in these procedures.