Updated September 30, 2018 3:38:07Harvard Business School announced today that it will pay a total of $3 million to settle complaints from former employees and students regarding sexual misconduct, including allegations of inappropriate touching, groping, voyeurism, and retaliation.
The settlement agreement includes an agreement to implement corrective action and provide an annual evaluation for Harvard Business students.
The agreement also includes an apology and an opportunity for Harvard to make changes.
“We will work with the individuals involved to identify and address the issues raised, and we will ensure that the university will maintain a culture of safety for all members of the community,” said Dean of Students Robert K. O’Neill.
The university has already agreed to pay out $2.5 million in additional compensation to four former employees.
“The university has long been committed to the protection of the rights of all students, including the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly,” said O’Reilly.
“As part of that commitment, we have taken immediate and comprehensive steps to ensure that Harvard is a safe and welcoming place for all, including survivors of sexual assault.”
The agreement was reached after a year of investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the University of Massachusetts System, led by Elizabeth Hickey, who oversees sexual misconduct investigations.
Hickey’s office has conducted two investigations into the conduct of members of Harvard’s women’s hockey team, including accusations that the team and players routinely used alcohol and other substances during games, harassed female students, and sexually harassed male students.
Hinton and the school’s board of trustees agreed to the settlement agreement last year after the OIG’s investigation concluded.
The school’s women hockey team had been suspended for two games in October for alleged misconduct, but Hickey said the school never told the team to stop playing.
After the team returned to action, it was suspended again.
A review of the university’s Title IX compliance process in the aftermath of the Hickey investigation found that the school had been aware of the sexual misconduct allegations against the team for some time, but did not take action to address them.
In December 2017, a female student filed a complaint against her former roommate, who was a team member on the women’s ice hockey team.
According to the OIC’s report, the woman, who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal, alleged that the woman had kissed the other woman on the lips and asked him to perform oral sex.
The OIC also noted that the roommate “appeared to be familiar with the details of the alleged conduct” and said that he knew the alleged victim “had multiple prior incidents of sexual violence” at the hands of other teammates.
“The University of Boston has been deeply troubled by this matter, and I hope that this settlement will serve as a catalyst for further action,” said Hinton.
The report concluded that the University failed to take adequate and appropriate action to investigate the allegations and that the conduct “likely constitutes an intentional and gross violation of Title IX.”
Harvard said that in addition to paying the settlement amount, it will take additional steps to address the issue.
Harvard has also agreed to “expedite” the hiring of a full-time sexual harassment and assault prevention coordinator and the hiring and training of more people to help monitor and address harassment, according to the university.
The UMass board of regents voted in February 2018 to suspend Harvard’s men’s hockey program indefinitely pending an investigation.
The women’s program has been reinstated, but it will require students to complete an 18-month sexual assault prevention course, which Harvard said will include a comprehensive “training in sexual harassment” and the “safety of all members and their families.”
Harvard’s athletics department said it will also work to hire additional “leaders” for women’s athletics, including an athletic director and a new athletic director.
The Boston Globe first reported on allegations against Hickey and the university in January 2018.