Dedicated to law, justice, and the peaceful resolution of conflict, we at Harvard Law School have a special obligation and opportunity to work for change. Now more than ever, we must sharpen abilities to face divisions and misunderstandings with listening and learning and to help develop policies and practices so that the rule of law provides fairness and safety for all.
As we come to the close of the academic year, we must reflect on how we want to begin next year, and how we will work together more constructively. We must continue developing new approaches that seek to engage individuals or groups through open-mindedness and empathy.
After learning about allegations of unauthorized digital recording on campus, in order to insure student safety and privacy, the Law School with the help of Harvard University Police has checked classrooms and public work spaces to ensure that there are no unauthorized recording devices there. No such devices have been found.
Earlier today, the Law School administration became aware of an account in a Reclaim press release and web post (both of which were made public this morning) alleging that several days ago, a voice-activated tape recorder was discovered in the lounge.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is a key opportunity for both raising awareness and reinforcing the importance of safety and respect as bedrock values in our community. Harvard has taken significant steps this year to gather information on and better understand sexual assault on campus through participation in the American Association of Universities survey on sexual assault and gender-harassment.
As our community has focused on questions of race and inclusion, which we regard as issues of pressing importance to the nation and our community, the Law School has respected the extraordinary use of the WCC lounge as a space for protest and discussion.
In the course of discussions between the Dean of Students Office and the Black Law Students Association (“BLSA”) about engaging the Verna Myers Consulting Group to conduct a campus-wide climate survey this spring, BLSA leaders inquired about an earlier survey of black law students that was carried out by Ms. Myers at HLS in 2002 at the request of BLSA -- a survey that resulted in a written report and recommendations.
In the past several weeks I have had many meaningful discussions with students about ongoing efforts here on diversity and inclusion, building on conversations that began in the Fall. I think it is important to share with the larger student body a number of ideas from students that have been moving forward with the work of my office, Dean Minow, and many others in this community.