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
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)

(Newser) – 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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