A few months after Harvard University announced a tougher policy against campus sexual assault, a group of Harvard law professors says the rules are unfair, NPR reports. Harvard announced its new policy after the school came under federal investigation for being too soft on sexual assault. The group of 28 law professors say Harvard overreacted with rules that are “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused” and “starkly one sided.” “The Harvard policy goes so far that it’s pretty shocking,” says law Prof. Janet Halley.
She says Harvard’s process is biased, because it is run by a single Title IX compliance office that’s under pressure to show the government results. “It’s the charging agent like the prosecutor, it’s the investigator — they’re the judge, and they’re the [people] who hears the appeal from all those decisions,” she says. “So they’re not neutral. They’re there to increase the number of persons held responsible.” Halley is troubled that the policy gives alleged victims many more rights and protections than the accused. She says it is also too broad in what it considers sexual misconduct. The school, she argues, relies too much on what a victim says is a violation, and too little on what a “reasonable person might say,” as federal law requires.