Skip to content


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 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

    The first group of 27 Heyman Fellows was recognized at an inaugural dinner of the Harvard Law School Program on Government Service held in Washington,…