Harvard University is committed to fostering a campus culture where all members have equal opportunity to be successful in their work or academic and research pursuits. To reaffirm our collective commitment to equity and inclusivity, Harvard University has adopted a university-wide Harvard University's Non-Discrimination Policy, effective September 1, 2023.

These policies apply to all students, faculty, staff, researchers, and other members of the Harvard community across all Schools and units, including the Harvard Graduate School of Design

 

Overview

Below is information on the GSD’s formal and informal pathways for addressing concerning behaviors covered under the policies referenced above; as well as contact information for all the Appropriate Officials (AOs) and Local Designated Resources (LDRs) supporting implementation of the formal complaint procedure and informal procedures at the Graduate School of Design.

Local Designated Resources (LDRs)

Community members with concerns regarding potential policy violations can seek support, information, or advice from their Local Designated Resource(LDR) for an initial consultation to explore available options.

The following Local Designated Resources at Harvard Graduate School of Design will coordinate with the Harvard University’s Central Office regarding complaints, training, and education initiatives relative to the Policy.  They also serve as a resource for receiving reports and complaints, directing community members to resources, and providing information on supportive measures:

 

Bringing a concern to the attention of the LDR does not automatically launch an inquiry or investigation.

In the event a community member objects to consulting with their Local Designated Resource based on an alleged conflict of interest or bias, they may bring the matter to the central Office for Community Conduct (OCC) ([email protected]). The OCC will review the claims and, if deemed necessary, appoint an alternative individual from the local School to serve as the LDR for initial consultation.

Appropriate Officials (AOs)

As it relates to our formal complaints procedures, the Appropriate Officials (AOs) are individuals or entities who will be the final authority to issue any sanctions following completion of an investigation and determinations related to policy violation. There are different AOs for students, staff, and faculty & academic appointees, which is detailed below.

At Harvard GSD, the following individuals have been designated as Appropriate Officials, who serve as the final authority to issue any sanctions under the University’s non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies:

For situations involving faculty, the Appropriate Official is the GSD Dean, Sarah Whiting or their designee.

For situations involving students, the Appropriate Official is the faculty members serving on the GSD Review Board; Janice Gilkes, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or their designee.

For situations involving staff members, the Appropriate Official is the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Janice Gilkes or their designee.

 

Informal Procedures & Pathways for Responding to Concerns

In a diverse academic community, differences of opinion and conflict can emerge, some of which may or may not rise to the level of violating this policy. Nonetheless, it is essential for us, as a community, to uphold our shared Community Values and participate in procedures that nurture a culture of respect. Acknowledging the wide range of behaviors that can manifest, the informal resolution process serves as a means to address issues stemming from interpersonal dynamics.

Who oversees the Informal Resolution Process?

All informal procedures and resolution options are overseen and administered by the Chief Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Officer, Naisha Bradley. For any guidance regarding the informal resolution process, please contact [email protected].

What steps are taken in an Informal Resolution Process?

The Informal Resolution Process is a support-based, non-judicial approach designed to resolve complaints through awareness, education, and/or facilitated dialogue. Depending on the nature and severity of the conduct, responses may include, but are not limited to:

  • One-on-One Consultation: This option enables the affected individual(s) to receive personalized consultative support and referrals to appropriate resources.
  • Mediation: Affected individuals can engage in a mediated conversation, with access to relevant educational resources, to discuss and address the conflict.
  • Restorative Justice: In this approach, affected individuals, possibly with the involvement of external stakeholders, participate in a practice that addresses harm and conflict through inclusive dialogue and collaborative problem-solving.
What if I want to remain anonymous?

Anonymity can only be guaranteed for the informal resolution process. Reports can be made anonymously using the Anonymous Reporting Hotline, an existing University-wide resource that is operated by an independent third-party vendor. All reports are taken seriously; please note that under such circumstances, the ability to fully address the report may be limited

Formal Complaint Procedure

All members of the GSD community can file a formal complaint if they have experienced concerning behavior covered in our non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies. A complainant may file a formal complaint with the Local Designated Resource or with the central Office for Community Conduct.  Complainants filing a formal complaint cannot remain anonymous or prevent their identity from being disclosed to the respondent. To learn more about the process for filing a formal complaint please contact your Local Designated Resource. For additional questions, you may also submit a contact request.