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Diane Rosenfeld

  • Chrystul Kizer, sex trafficking victim accused of killing alleged abuser, wins appeal in Wisconsin

    June 4, 2021

    An appellate court in Wisconsin has ruled that Chrystul Kizer, a child sex-trafficking victim charged with killing her alleged abuser, may be able to use a state law intended to help trafficking victims accused of crimes. The law, known as the affirmative defense, will give Kizer, now 20, a chance to present evidence to a Kenosha judge, and possibly a jury, that her actions were a “direct result” of the trafficking she experienced. If successful, she could be acquitted of some or all of the charges against her, rather than face a mandatory life sentence — and could break legal ground for trafficking victims accused of crimes. ... “We could not have gotten a better decision‚” said Diane Rosenfeld, director of Harvard Law School’s gender violence program, which was involved in writing a brief in the case. “If the state had taken more seriously what Volar was doing, not only to Chrystul but to all these other girls, arguably Chrystul wouldn’t have been in this position."

  • Virginia Lieutenant Governor Faces Eroding Support From Democrats After New Accuser Speaks

    February 11, 2019

    A second woman came forward Friday with claims that she had been sexually assaulted by Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax of Virginia, intensifying the weeklong political crisis in the state and leading top fellow Democrats to call for Mr. Fairfax to resign. ... “Everything she said in her statement was exactly what she told me when we talked,” said Diane L. Rosenfeld, a founding director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School, who said Dr. Tyson told her of the alleged assault in December 2017.

  • On Campus Radio: Drawing New Rules For Title IX

    January 29, 2019

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has already rescinded Obama-era guidelines for how schools handle sexual harassment and assault claims. Now, she is hoping to give what she calls fair protections to the accused. Advocates for survivors see this as a big step backward and they are making their voices heard. The deadline for public comment has been extended to Wednesday, Jan. 30. On the latest episode of On Campus Radio, we'll look into DeVos' proposed changes and how students and educators are responding to them. ... We'll then talk to Harvard law professors Janet Halley and Diane Rosenfeld about the debate over Title IX regulations.

  • New Title IX Regulations May Reshape Harvard’s Handling of Sexual Misconduct

    November 19, 2018

    The Department of Education released proposed regulations Friday meant to reshape how colleges handle allegations of sexual misconduct — Harvard among them. The long-anticipated proposal — which was announced alongside a statement by United States Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — provides a new framework for implementing Title IX, an anti-sex discrimination law that guides universities’ approach to handling sexual assault...Law School Professor Diane L. Rosenfeld, who teaches a course on Title IX, said the new guidance is “an attempt to make [schools] not responsible for off-campus” sexual assault and harassment...Law School professor Janet E. Halley said she plans to write a formal comment to the Department advocating for policies similar to the ones currently in place at Harvard Law School, which mandate a different hearing process than the one the government has put forth. She said she thinks the new proposal contains both necessary improvements and “disastrous” flaws. “A lot of my issues are my concern for the accused, but a lot of my issues are my concern for the complainant,” she said. “There’s good things and bad things for both sides here, so the public furor is pretty idiotic.”

  • New Trump Administration Guidelines May Prompt Changes to Harvard Title IX Policy

    November 6, 2018

    Harvard may be required to change its current Title IX policy to comply with new federal dictates if the U.S. Department of Education publishes a new set of guidelines under consideration, experts say...Harvard Law School Professor Diane L. Rosenfeld, who teaches a course on Title IX, speculated that the leaked draft guidelines “could likely change” from their current iteration, after the required notice-and-comment period. That portion of the regulatory process allows the public to provide feedback on changes to rules executive agencies propose. “Many of the things that are in the policy are legally very problematic,” Rosenfeld said. “They seek to import private law standards and criminal justice standards into a civil rights context for school adjudication under Title IX. And they’re just simply not the same legal and regulatory system, so the same rules don’t apply.”

  • Does the law hear women?

    October 1, 2018

    An op-ed by Diane Rosenfeld. Does the law hear women? This week's dramatic -- and traumatic -- Senate hearing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court demonstrated that society and its leaders silence women, either with a hand over their mouth or by simply not listening to them. The details of the hearing illustrate how badly broken the system is in addressing sexual assault claims.

  • Balance between protecting alleged victims and the accused

    September 27, 2018

    As our community follows developments related to two high-profile men facing accusations of improper conduct with women, KARE 11 sat down with a national expert on sexual assault. Dr. Diane Rosenfeld is the Director of the Gender Violence Program and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. On Wednesday, she offered several insights on the impending hearing involving Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the ongoing reactions to allegations against Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota. “We shouldn’t rush to judgment, but we should have some kind of fair process that does not retraumatize someone who comes forward with allegations that are so painful and that reveal such painful and traumatizing incidents,” Rosenfeld said.

  • A Look At Campus Sexual Assault In The DeVos Era (audio)

    March 7, 2018

    An interview with Diane Rosenfeld. College campuses continue to be unsafe for women. Its estimated that one in five female students will be sexually assaulted during her time in college. It’s a disturbingly common problem, yet so few of the accused perpetrators end up facing criminal charges. A former Yale student is currently standing trial for the alleged rape of one of his classmates. It could be one of the few times a campus rape case is decided in court. Why do so few accused perpetrators end up facing criminal charges?

  • Women’s Week Panel Talks Harvard’s Past with Sexual Violence

    February 28, 2018

    Panelists shared personal stories, advice, and a range of historical experiences related to sexual violence at Harvard at an event Tuesday afternoon co-hosted by Our Harvard Can Do Better and the Radcliffe Union of Students...[Diane] Rosenfeld offered advice on activism for current students, encouraging them to demand an audience with the administration, especially with University President-elect Lawrence S. Bacow. “There is absolutely power in numbers. Gather your student groups and have meetings and meetings and meetings with the new President, even before he takes office. Let me him know that you need to be on his radar,” Rosenfeld said.

  • Professors, Legal Experts Call for Nuance in #MeToo Debate

    February 7, 2018

    Students, professors, and legal experts discussed the direction the nation should take following the national spotlight on the #MeToo movement at a Tuesday evening panel...Panelists included Law School Professor Diane Rosenfeld, Massachusetts Legislative Aide Preyel Patel, University of Massachusetts-Boston Professor J. Shoshanna Ehrlich, and Know Your IX Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Sejal Singh [`20]...A central theme in the panelists’ responses was the call for intersectionality within the movement, and advocacy for marginalized groups. “I can’t speak for a trans woman, but I can hold a space for her,” Rosenfeld said. Panelists also called for individuals to not shy away from difficult conversations with their peers.

  • Harvard lawyer Diane Rosenfeld: Only female alliances will stop rape culture

    February 6, 2018

    The world may have turned its attention to rampant sexual harassment and assault in 2017, but activists on college campuses have waged this battle for decades. Their work has not only foretold today’s Me Too movement but has also laid the foundation for cultural changes necessary to curb workplace harassment. Harvard-trained lawyer Diane Rosenfeld is at the heart of this movement. Her work focuses on a single question: How do we create a culture of sexual respect on, and beyond, college campuses?...In an interview with Quartz, Rosenfeld spoke about strong female alliances, how teaching breathed new life into her career, and the wonders of “smooth aggressiveness.”

  • What will the #MeToo movement mean for Cosby’s next trial?

    January 12, 2018

    Jurors couldn’t agree the first time around whether to accept a woman’s story that “America’s Dad,” Bill Cosby, sexually assaulted her over a decade ago. Now he faces a retrial in less than 90 days in a vastly different cultural climate, one in which powerful men from Hollywood to the U.S. Senate are being toppled by allegations of sexual misconduct...Diane Rosenfeld, a lecturer and director of a gender violence program at Harvard Law School, believes the floodgates of victim support opened after the Weinstein allegations and not after Cosby’s accusers came forward for two reasons: perceived credibility of the victims and the likability of the accused. “Bill Cosby had been such a treasured American hero, giving us this friendly, accessible view of a successful African-American family,” she said. “He was such a loveable public presence, his accusers didn’t have as much power collectively or public notoriety as victims in the Weinstein case.”

  • The women’s revolt: Why now, and where to

    December 22, 2017

    When allegations of serial sexual misconduct by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein broke in October, they triggered an intense national reckoning over sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and beyond...Today [Catharine Mackinnon] the James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School tells the Gazette she is “inspired by the brilliance, heart, and grit of all the survivors who are speaking out and reflecting on their experiences of sexual violation, and being listened to.” And she said the downfall of so many powerful men is stunning, “especially given decades of stonewalling and recalcitrance and siding with abusers.”...“When you take a higher view of everything that’s going on, a meta-analysis, you can see that that is absolutely the way that defense works. Anytime somebody comes forward, there’s an attempt to discredit her,” said [Diane] Rosenfeld.

  • Why DeVos’s position on campus sexual assault is flawed

    September 13, 2017

    An op-ed by Diane Rosenfeld. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last week announced a retreat from the Education Department’s work to protect students from sexual assault. While demonstrating that she has given serious thought to the issue, DeVos’s position is based on two fundamental flaws. As a result, she is poised to abandon laudable work done in the previous administration to help schools reduce the incidence of campus rape.

  • Lewis Headlines Debate on Constitutionality of Final Club Sanctions

    November 30, 2016

    Four professors debated the First Amendment implications of the College’s plan to penalize members of single-gender social organizations on Tuesday, reframing a controversial campus issue in constitutional terms...David L. Howell, a professor of Japanese history, and Diane L. Rosenfeld, a lecturer at the Law School and founding director of the Gender Violence Program, argued in favor of the constitutionality of the policy at the debate, while computer science professor and former Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis ’68 and visiting Harvard Law professor Sanford V. Levinson argued the sanctions violated First Amendment values.

  • Nate Parker’s Past Surfaces in Prosecutors’ Investigation of Penn State

    October 28, 2016

    As the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State continues to play out in the prosecution of former university officials, state investigators have begun examining whether the school mishandled the case of a student wrestler who went on to become a Hollywood actor and director. The wrestler, Nate Parker, was charged in 1999 with raping a fellow student. Despite his eventual acquittal, the case resurfaced in the fevered run-up to “The Birth of a Nation,” of which Mr. Parker is writer, director and star...“Just because the person to whom he allegedly exposed himself didn’t report it to the police doesn’t matter at all,” said Diane Rosenfeld, director of the gender violence program at Harvard Law School. “It doesn’t relieve the school of its responsibilities.”

  • Activists Weigh In on Sexual Assault Response at Law School

    March 31, 2016

    As discussions of sexual assault and Title IX pervade campus rhetoric, Harvard Law School alumna and activist Kamilah Willingham offered her views on the topics and reflected on her experiences at a conference Tuesday. The conference, entitled “Challenges in Title IX Advocacy,” was the first from Harassment/Assault Law-School Team, a new organization of Law School students that advocates for students who file sexual assault claims through internal procedures at schools in the Boston area...Jenae S. Moxie, a Law School student and the president of HALT, spoke during a panel discussions about her disillusionment with the Law School’s ability to educate students about sexual assault...in addition to student activism, [Diane] Rosenfeld said she is optimistic about the potential positive effects of her curriculum. “I have the incredible privilege and luxury of creating my own curriculum, and having created the gender violence program,” Rosenfeld said. “I wanted to develop Title IX as an incredibly strong potential source of civil rights in education.”

  • Restraining orders may come with GPS monitors

    January 7, 2016

    Ankle bracelets could soon track the movements of suspected domestic abusers before they are even convicted of a crime, if lawmakers vote to expand use of the technology. A proposal to expand the use of GPS tracking devices will allow judges to order their use when issuing protective orders that require suspected abusers not to contact or approach their victims. Advocates of the measure, filed at the request of prosecutors, say the technology will give victims a chance to escape abusers who ignore restraining orders. Diane Rosenfeld, director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School, said the technology is effective. In parts of Massachusetts where devices are used as part of comprehensive safety plans for victims, there have been no domestic-violence related homicides. "It's a highly effective tool for crime prevention," Rosenfeld said.

  • ‘The Hunting Ground’ exposes ‘target rapes’ on campus

    November 23, 2015

    An op-ed by Diane Rosenfeld. The documentary film “The Hunting Ground” exposes the systemic problem of campus sexual assault. Through harrowing narratives of student-survivors, we see the profoundly devastating effects that one act of sexual violence can have on a victim’s entire educational trajectory. It is all too prevalent on college campuses and represents a massive deprivation of women’s civil rights to educational equality. Those who argue that sexual assault cases involving college students should simply be handled by the criminal justice system are missing the critical point that schools have legal obligations to enforce the civil rights of students.

  • Professors Dispute Depiction of Harvard Case in Rape Documentary

    November 16, 2015

    The veracity of one of this year’s most talked about documentaries, “The Hunting Ground,” has been attacked by 19 Harvard Law School professors, who say the film’s portrayal of rape on college campus is distorted, specifically when it comes to their school’s handling of one particular case...“The documentary has created an important conversation about campus sexual assault,” said Diane L. Rosenfeld, a Harvard law lecturer who also appears in the film and did not sign the letter. “We need to be rolling up our sleeves and really figuring out what kind of preventative education programs to develop which create a culture of sexual respect.” But in their letter, the law professors, who include Laurence H. Tribe, Randall L. Kennedy and Jeannie C. Suk, said the film “provides a seriously false picture both of the general sexual assault phenomenon at universities and of our student,” specifically a male Harvard law student whose case is included in “The Hunting Ground.”...“This is a young human being whose life has been mauled by this process for years, and now he has to walk around campus with people saying, ‘Oh, you’re a repeat sexual offender,’ and he’s not,” said Janet Halley, one of the letter’s authors. “It’s not a documentary. It’s propaganda."

  • Harvard Professors: ‘Hunting Ground’ Unfair to Student

    November 12, 2015

    The documentary "The Hunting Ground" provides "a seriously false picture both of the general sexual assault phenomenon at universities" and of a case involving Harvard University students, 19 Harvard law professors said in a statement Wednesday...Along the way, the documentary takes frequent detours to call out a number of other institutions for mishandling or ignoring the issue, including Harvard. That section of the film focuses on an assault allegedly committed by a law student there named Brandon Winston. On Wednesday, a week before the documentary is set to air on CNN, the Harvard professors released a lengthy statement criticizing the the film's portrayal of the accused student's case..."Mr. Winston was finally vindicated by the Law School and by the judicial proceedings, and allowed to continue his career at the Law School and beyond. Propaganda should not be allowed to erase this just outcome." Diane Rosenfeld, a Harvard law lecturer who did not sign Wednesday's statement, said that she disagrees with her colleagues and agrees with documentary's findings..."I fully support 'The Hunting Ground' film, which is all about ending the silencing of survivors," she said.

  • The Stanford Undergraduate and the Mentor

    February 11, 2015

    On a weekend in March almost three years ago, Ellie Clougherty flew from London to Rome with Joe Lonsdale. She was a 21-year-old junior at Stanford University, and it was her first trip to Italy. Lonsdale, then 29, was a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and he booked a room for them for two nights in a luxury hotel — a converted Renaissance mansion in the shadow of the Pantheon...In November 2013, they attended a conference on gender-based violence at Harvard and heard a talk given by Diane Rosenfeld, a Harvard lecturer and lawyer. “Diane said, ‘You have these rights in Title IX,’ and that’s when it clicked,” Anne said. “I chased her into the bathroom and said: ‘You have to meet my daughter. We need your help.’ ” Rosenfeld agreed to represent Clougherty in negotiations with Stanford and Lonsdale over her allegations of sexual harassment and assault and gave her a refrigerator magnet with the slogan “You Are Pure Potential.”

  • Sundance Film Review: ‘The Hunting Ground’

    January 26, 2015

    Scored to an ironic use of “Pomp and Circumstance,” the pic opens with homevideos of women receiving their college acceptance letters, with cries of “I got in!” While this may seem like cheap cynicism, it sets up one of the major arguments of the film, which is that universities are selling a brand and have a financial incentive to downplay incidents of campus sexual assault. Citing studies from 2000 to the present that suggest that 16% to 20% of women are sexually assaulted, the film makes the case that colleges are breeding grounds — not an association they like. Harvard Law lecturer Diane L. Rosenfeld draws an analogy: If you were to advertise that a prospective student had an equivalent chance of being the victim of a drive-by shooting, their desire to pay tuition would diminish.

  • Fallout From A Controversial Rolling Stone Magazine Story On A Campus Sex Assault (audio)

    December 10, 2014

    A story in last month’s Rolling Stone magazine described the gang rape of a student at a University of Virginia fraternity house. The university responded by suspending all fraternities and a criminal investigation was launched. But in recent weeks, key elements of the alleged victim’s story have been questioned and could not be verified by other news organizations. Advocates say the firestorm around the story has led to blaming the victim and sets back efforts to address campus sex assault. Diane and guests discuss a controversial Rolling Stone article and what it means for journalism standards, the rights of victims and those accused. Guests: Diane Rosenfeld lecturer on law and director, Gender Violence Program, Harvard Law School; former Senior Counsel to the Violence Against Women Office, U.S. Department of Justice.

  • White House and colleges grapple with sexual assault

    September 19, 2014

    If you're in the business of higher education, the issue of sexual assault is on your radar. The White House is expected to unveil a nationwide plan to address the issue Friday at the same time some 70 colleges and universities are under investigation for how they've handled sexual assault cases...Diane Rosenfeld, who runs the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School, says people must be smart consumers and do some digging. "See if there are dedicated resources to preventing campus sexual assault, look at statements the president has made [look at] whether the school has been sued or not," she says.

  • On top of everything else, sexual assault hurts the survivors’ grades

    August 11, 2014

    An op-ed by Cari Simon [inaugural fellow, HLS Gender Violence Program]. The semester Deena* was raped, her grades plummeted: She received a “D” in one course and failed another. It was the classes requiring participation in which her grades suffered the most, as some days she was too terrified to leave her dorm room, especially after running into her assailant on campus…Diane Rosenfeld, my mentor and the director of Harvard Law School Gender Violence Program worked with Deena’s school to replace the “D” with a “Pass” and ensure the “F” was removed from her transcript. The change in GPA improved her confidence and allowed her to be eligible for her dream to study abroad.

  • Valerie Jarrett Speaks Out Against College Sexual Assault (video)

    May 1, 2014

    In January, the White House announced a task force to study the issue of college sexual assault. White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett joins Katie to share the task force's recommendations. Also commenting in the segment: Diane Rosenfeld, lecturer on law.

  • Rosenfeld consults on federal effort targeting sexual assaults at colleges

    April 29, 2011

    Lecturer on Law Diane Rosenfeld LL.M. ’96, a national expert in gender issues including violence against women, attended a press conference with Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the University of New Hampshire-Durham on April 4 to announce new federal guidance for universities regarding Title IX compliance.

  • At HLS, Perrelli details DOJ efforts to stop violence against women

    March 11, 2010

    On March 8, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli ’91 returned to Harvard Law School to discuss the Department of Justice’s new violence against women initiative. Perrelli’s visit marked the first stop on a month-long college campus tour sponsored by DOJ.

  • Diane Rosenfeld ’96, Jeannie Suk ’02 and Nadine Strossen ’75

    Strossen, Rosenfeld debate the regulation of pornography

    March 13, 2009

    HLS Lecturer Diane Rosenfeld ’96 and New York Law School Professor Nadine Strossen ’75 debated the question “Should Pornography Be Regulated?” in a packed Ames Courtroom on March 10.

  • Heyman Fellows Honored at Inaugural Dinner

    April 27, 2001

    Heyman Fellows Christine Lee ’00, Adam Szubin ’99, and Roger Fairfax ’98 were among graduates honored at the inaugural dinner of the School’s new Program…