Title IX Suit Filed Against Harvard Alleging Discrimination




On October 15, a lawsuit was filed by a male student alleging that Harvard discriminated against him on the basis of his race and gender. The lawsuit brings into question an investigation conducted by Harvard’s Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR)  that took place in April 2017, in which a female undergraduate student accused the male student of sexual misconduct after a party they had both attended.


The plaintiff alleges that the University discriminated against him because he identifies as an “African-American male,” arguing that the Title IX investigation conducted against him showed bias towards the female accuser and allowed for testimony from witnesses who made racially charged comments. The suit also alleges that ODR Director William D. McCants rejected two joint requests from both the male and female in question for informal resolution processes, which would have allowed both parties to settle the conflict on their own terms.


The suit names the University, the President and Fellows of Harvard College, the Board of Overseers, and the ODR Title IX investigator Brigid Harrington as defendants. The University is also currently facing three open individual federal investigations regarding its compliance with Title IX law, with the first investigation beginning in 2014.


Segan Helle (shelle@college.harvard.edu)  writes for the News section, with special interest in campus administration and politics.