Statement on Sexual Harassment & Assault

Dear Harvard Chan School community,

As public health scholars and professionals, we are acutely aware of the emotional, physical, and even genetic consequences of sexual harassment and assault. The trauma of these experiences can cause profound and irreparable harm, permanently altering the lives, health, and careers of those affected.

With a global movement bringing appalling numbers of cases to light, we are reminded that even renowned and respected individuals can be the perpetrators of outrageous, predatory, and illegal acts. We are also reminded of the power of solidarity and community in confronting exploitation and injustice wherever it appears.

The Harvard Chan School is dedicated to providing a safe environment in which all members of our community can work and learn without fear or threat of sexual aggression. Let me be clear:

  • We will not tolerate sexual harassment, assault, or aggression in any form at the Harvard Chan School.
  • We will always put the safety of our students and employees first.
  • We will actively support and protect any member of the community who comes forward with information or allegations about misconduct.
  • We will take any such allegations extremely seriously and respond with appropriate action.
  • We will strive to prevent harm and create a community that is aware of and sensitive to the issues of sexual harassment and assault, where all students and employees can thrive.

These commitments are at the heart of the Harvard Chan School community.

For any member of our community who has personally experienced or witnessed an incident of discrimination or sexual harassment, please contact your Title IX coordinator.

If you have experienced a sexual assault, we strongly encourage you to contact the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) at 617-432-1212. HUPD’s first priority is to provide immediate physical protection and, if necessary, transportation to a medical facility. After seeking help, you may choose whether or not to file a formal report.

For those in need of counseling or mental health support, experienced counselors are available through the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (617-496-5636). Faculty and staff may also contact Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program at 877-327-4278 (1-877-EAP-HARV). Students can contact Colleen Cronin in Student Services (617-432-1542) or Harvard University Counseling and Mental Health Services at 617-495-2042 (617-495-5711 after hours). The HMS / HSDM / Harvard Chan Ombuds Office is always available as a confidential resource and is located at 164 Longwood Avenue.

As students, scholars, and practitioners of public health, we have a special obligation to root out sexual harassment and assault from our own community, create a safe and respectful environment for work and study, and provide support for those who are affected by these crimes.

As President Faust said in her letter to the Harvard community this week, “We must continue to work together to bring the same values of openness and rigor that distinguish our academic and professional pursuits to this critical issue. We must speak when we see wrongdoing, and we must support one another. The Harvard we imagine—a Harvard where all people can realize their full potential unhindered—demands no less.”


Michelle A. Williams, SM, ScD
Dean of the Faculty
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health