For the last week, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs community has faced several formidable challenges following the Chronicle of Higher Education’s distressing accounts of sexual harassment by Professor Jorge I. Domínguez, former Center Director and Vice Provost for International Affairs, and until recently Chair of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, one of the programs affiliated with the Center. I am writing to update you on recent developments and measures we are taking internally to address the situation.
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith announced on Sunday that Professor Domínguez has been placed on administrative leave while allegations are under review. Administrative leave dictates that he no longer has access to campus, nor is he teaching or performing other administrative duties. Claudine Gay, Dean of Social Science, announced yesterday that Timothy J. Colton, Morris and Anna Feldberg Professor of Government and Russian Studies, has agreed to serve as Interim Chair of the Harvard Academy for the remainder of the semester. And today, Professor Domínguez announced that he will be retiring as of June 30, 2018.
In response to the CHE articles, I posted the following statement on the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs website and on social media:
“The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs is unambiguously committed to the policy and practice of zero tolerance of sexual harassment or gendered disparity of treatment; in positive terms, we are committed to an atmosphere of safe, healthy, and robust engagement with each other as teachers, students, and colleagues. We will continue working to sustain an environment in which we can all do our best work. If you have any concerns, or if you have suggestions on ways in which we can better foster such an environment, please do not hesitate to talk with me, Title IX officers, or other Harvard personnel. The Weatherhead Center leadership continues to respond to this developing situation.”
The Executive Committee of the Center met yesterday to deliberate concerning the current situation. We affirmed our support for respecting the due process to which Professor Domínguez is entitled, as well as our unconditional support for promoting an inclusive environment for research and learning at the Weatherhead Center. Following consultation with staff, graduate students, and faculty, we are taking a variety of measures to strengthen an inclusive climate in which the dignity of all members is respected and where all are empowered to do their best work possible. Concrete measures will include: incorporating Title IX training and support into the Weatherhead Center activities and our annual orientation in particular; promoting standards of behavior and decency to all faculty and student grantees and on the WCFIA website; as well as the creation of a Center working group on inclusion.
I invite you to contact me or Executive Director Ted Gilman, if you have any concerns, questions, or suggestions.
With my best,