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Letter to the Editors

Your editorial entitled “Title IX and University Administration” argues the importance of uniform Title IX procedures across “One Harvard."  Uniformity in some matters is good, but you do not say why it is needed for this one.  

The reason the law faculty drafted its own procedures was the overwhelming sentiment in our faculty that the university’s Title IX procedures were so unfair as to be unacceptable.  At our meetings not a single faculty member spoke in defense of the university’s procedures. And, after all, procedure is what we do. If we had not been allowed to draft our own procedures a strong denunciation by the faculty would almost certainly have followed and would have made law suits by accused students a virtual certainty. (Indeed, early in the discussions twenty-eight of our colleagues did denounce the procedures in an op-ed in The Boston  Globe). Our HLS alternative procedures were overwhelmingly adopted by the law faculty. 

The broader lesson relates to the university's governance structure and the absence of faculty participation in the creation of the central administration's standards. In spite of vague talk of review by “the schools” and reference to some unidentified “working groups,” the fact is that the university’s Title IX procedures were drafted without a single law professor's or assistant professor’s active participation. We have done the university a favor, and if the rest of the university takes up our procedures that would be all to the good.

Had there been a representative faculty senate, that senate could have insured faculty participation in the creation of these new regulatory standards.

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Charles Fried and Robert H. Mnookin '64 are professors at Harvard Law School.    

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