Results of Harvard AAU Student Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School community:

Yesterday morning, President Bacow shared the results of the 2019 AAU Student Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct, conducted by the University in partnership with the Association of American Universities (AAU). Students across Harvard’s Schools participated in this survey, along with students from 32 universities nationwide.

The results of this survey show that sexual harassment and assault at Harvard, and on campuses across the country, remains an unacceptable crisis. As public health practitioners, we know first-hand the physical, psychological, societal, and genetic impacts of sexual misconduct. It cannot be tolerated, in any form.

As a matter of social justice, the Harvard Chan School places the highest priority on the physical and mental well-being of all its students and employees. I want to underscore our commitment to helping anyone who experiences sexual harassment, and to reiterate our core beliefs around this issue:

  • We will not tolerate sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct 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, conduct thorough and fair investigations of any complaints brought forth, 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, where all students and employees can thrive.

If you feel that you have experienced any form of sexual harassment, including sexual assault, our designated Title IX coordinators, listed at the bottom of this email, can talk to you about the University’s responsibility to respond to your concerns. During these conversations, our coordinators can explain possible next steps, including answering questions about the complaint process, and address any concerns related to potential retaliation. These conversations can also take the form of informal counseling. Please remember that it is never too late to tell someone about your experience. Anyone who feels they have been sexually harassed can and should receive support at any time. In addition, the University has just established a system for making reports to the central Title IX office online and anonymously.

My highest priority is your safety and well-being. I remain committed to modeling a safe and inclusive environment where all members of our community can thrive without fear or threat of sexual assault, harassment, or retribution. I’m hopeful that, with this year’s survey results as our guide, we can move ever closer to the ultimate goal of a campus free from barriers to growth and learning.


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

Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School