A Harvard Student Accused of Rape Is Suing Harvard

John Doe wants Harvard to stop its investigation
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2018 3:48 PM CST
A Harvard Student Accused of Rape Is Suing Harvard
In this March 7, 2017, file photo, rowers paddle down the Charles River past the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Harvard University is investigating an alleged rape, and it's being sued in an attempt to stop it. The Boston Globe has the backstory: "John Doe" enrolled at Harvard in August 2016; that next summer, while interning "in a city hundreds of miles away from Harvard" he met "Jane Roe," who is not a Harvard student. Based on court filings, the Harvard Crimson reports that city was likely Washington, DC. While there, the two on July 22 had a sexual encounter that he says she consented to and she says she didn't. Prosecutors decided not to take the case, and a civil personal injury suit filed by Roe in March 2018 is pending. Where Harvard comes into play: The school's Office of Dispute Resolution in October began an investigation to determine "whether he had committed sexual assault in violation of Harvard’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment [Policy]."

That policy itself is at the crux of Doe's suit against the school; he argues the policy is in force under certain scenarios: If the incident occurred on Harvard property, if there was an off-campus connection (ie, at a program sponsored by Harvard), or if the conduct could "creat[e] a hostile environment for a member of the University community." Those scenarios don't apply, he argues, and he filed a civil suit Wednesday seeking a halt to Harvard's probe and $75,000 in damages. The suit describes Harvard's disciplinary process against Doe as "arbitrary, capricious, malicious, and being conducted in bad faith." Read the full Globe article for more; it digs into some discrepancies between Harvard's overarching policy and that of the specific college Doe is enrolled at: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Almost 50 years later, a Harvard student's murder is solved.)

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