Discrimination and Harassment

It is unlawful, contrary to Harvard University’s policy, and clearly in violation of the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability unrelated to job or course of study requirements. The Faculty Council condemns all forms of discrimination or harassment, whether subtle or overt, and asserts that all members of the University community should join in assuring that all students are accorded the dignity and respect called for in the Resolution.

Students who believe they may be victims of any form of discrimination or harassment have recourse to grievance procedures developed by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. These procedures, which are consonant with public law and the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities, are summarized on the following pages.

An individual also may contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”).

Contact Information for OCR:

Email:        OCR.Boston@ed.gov
Address:    U.S. Department of Education
                  8th Floor
                  5 Post Office Square
                  Boston, MA 02109-3921
Phone:       (617) 289-0111

Harvard also complies with Massachusetts laws that protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as on the basis of gender identity.  Although these obligations may be outside the realm of Title IX, questions or concerns about possible discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity under state law may also be directed to a School or unit-based Title IX Coordinator, or to the University’s Title IX Officer.

Complaints of Discrimination

A student should first seek a resolution of a matter involving discrimination or affirmative action through an appropriate officer, such as a department chair, advisor, director of graduate studies, director of the Accessible Education Office, or the dean for student affairs. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved by informal methods, the student may lodge a formal complaint with the dean of the Graduate School. Depending on the circumstances, the dean may appoint a special committee to resolve the problem or may refer it to the appropriate agency or office for resolution.

If the matter cannot be satisfactorily resolved through these channels, either the student or the dean of the Graduate School may refer it to the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for final resolution. The disposition of the dean of the faculty will be final. Students ordinarily are expected to exhaust institutional grievance procedures before seeking redress under public law. If students would like to discuss their concerns in a confidential setting, the University Ombudsman is a neutral and independent resource.

Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment

GSAS is committed to fostering a learning community that is inclusive and supportive of everyone and we intend to promote an educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has recently adopted new policies and procedures related to sexual and gender-based harassment (including sexual assault). The University has a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Education website, where you can connect with timely and confidential counseling, explore filing a complaint, contact specially trained 24/7 emergency services, and learn about engaging interim measures - academic, workplace, housing, or other support services - to help you continue to participate in all aspects of the Harvard community.

Should you have questions about the policy and procedures or have sexual or gender-based harassment issues or concerns you would like to discuss, you can feel free to contact the following GSAS staff members who are also trained Title IX coordinators:

  • Jackie Yun, Director of Student Services, Dudley House B-2, 617‑495‑5005, jyun@fas.harvard.edu
  • Seth Avakian, Program Officer for Title IX and Professional Conduct, 414A University Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138, 617-495-9583, avakian@fas.harvard.edu

GSAS students with concerns about sexual or gender-based harassment who want to speak in a confidential setting may visit the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR) or any of the other confidential resources listed at the SHARE portal.

Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR)
624 Smith Campus Center
75 Mt. Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone (617) 496-5636 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm)
24-hour information and support hotline (617) 495-9100
Office Hours Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

GSAS students with concerns about sexual or gender-based harassment may also visit Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR) to request information or advice, including whether certain conduct may violate the Policy; seek informal resolution; or file a formal complaint.

Office for Dispute Resolution
​Smith Campus Center, Suite 935
1350 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 495-3786
Office hours: 9am-5pm

Racial Harassment

The Graduate School seeks to maintain an instructional and work environment free from racial harassment. The Graduate School defines racial harassment as actions on the part of an individual or group that demean or abuse another individual or group because of racial or ethnic background. Such actions may include but are not restricted to using racial epithets, making racially derogatory remarks, and using racial stereotypes. Any member of the Graduate School community who believes that he or she has been harassed on account of race is encouraged to bring the matter to the attention of the dean for student affairs. The director of student services also serves as a resource in these types of cases.

The procedures for dealing with incidents of racial harassment fall into two categories: informal resolution and formal complaint. The complainant will ordinarily be given the choice of formal or informal procedures. In certain circumstances, however, where the harassing behavior has become a matter of public information and concern, it may be necessary to use formal procedures of investigation and resolution. Cases of alleged harassment by graduate students will be adjudicated by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School or by the Student-Faculty Judicial Board.

The Graduate School’s investigation and adjudication process is designed to be careful and fair. No person will be reprimanded or discriminated against in any way for initiating an inquiry or complaint in good faith. The rights of any person against whom a complaint is lodged will be protected.