Advocates demand external review of sexual assault complaints against Harvard professor – Metro US

Advocates demand external review of sexual assault complaints against Harvard professor

Students, alumni, advocates and survivors converged upon the gates of Harvard University, demanding the university address demands for an external investigation into decades worth of sexual harassment claims made against Government Professor Jorge Dominguez. 

The Chronicle of Higher Education published a report detailing instances of sexual misconduct between Dominguez and over 20 female students, faculty members and staff members dating as far back as 1983. Harvard’s internal investigation found that he was responsible for “serious misconduct,” but kept Dominguez on as a professor until February 2018. 

In the article, former assistant professor Terry Karl describes several instances of inappropriate behavior, including a dinner where Dominguez introduced her to the former Venezuelan President Rafael Caldera as “my slave.” The article goes on to detail a time when she called Dominguez out for that comment while she drove him home from campus. According to Karl, he then “kissed her and slid his hand up her skirt, telling her he would be the next department chairman, decide her promotion, review her book.”

Dominguez, who was placed on administrative leave, has either denied accusations, refused to comment on others.  

In in March 2018, the Government Department formed the Committee on Climate Change, a 15-member group issued a memo proposing several steps to improve departmental response to harassment claims, including an external review conducted by an independent investigative firm into the reports made against Dominguez.

While committee members and administrators have had “positive” communication, the administration ultimately shot down the idea of sponsoring “public steps” in conducting an external investigation until the University wrapped up their internal investigation, according to the Harvard Crimson

“Harvard put hundreds of students at risk by allowing Jorge Dominguez to remain on the faculty for forty years, and the university administration needs to take responsibility for that,” Government Ph.D. student Olivia Woldemikael said in a statement. “The external review we’re asking for would be a way to address these past wrongs, as well as to give us concrete steps towards changing our departmental and university culture moving forward.” 

On Wednesday afternoon, about 50 protesters rallied in front of Harvard President Larry Bacow’s office, and issued a letter of grievances. 

“Harvard’s inaction over the course of decades despite knowledge of Dominguez’s serial harassment makes it clear that internal procedures have failed us time and time again,” Government studies senior Sarah Fellman said in a statement issued by advocacy group #ExternalRviewNow.

“Given that administrators have summarily refused to provide students with even a vague estimate of the timeline for completing the Office of Dispute Resolution investigation, it is unjust to expect us to continue to wait in the dark.”