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Elizabeth Bartholet

  • Law School Faculty Call for Title IX Sexual Assault Policy Changes

    September 1, 2017

    Four Harvard Law School faculty members are pushing for the Department of Education to revise Obama-era Title IX standards governing how universities respond to sexual harassment and assault on campus. In a memo submitted to the Department of Education last week, Law School professors Janet E. Halley, Elizabeth D. Bartholet ’62, and Jeannie Suk Gersen and lecturer Nancy Gertner called on the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights to reevaluate the standards put forth in the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter.

  • HLS faculty maintain top position in SSRN citation rankings

    Four Harvard Law faculty ask DOE to change campus sexual-assault policies

    August 28, 2017

    Four members of the Harvard Law School faculty have called on the U.S. Department of Education to revise the Obama Administration’s policies enforcing Title IX in matters of sexual harassment and sexual assault on college and university campuses.

  • Adoptions in America are declining

    June 26, 2017

    SHOULD state-funded adoption agencies be able, for religious reasons, to turn down prospective parents? An increasing number of states say they should, or are beginning to consider it...Meanwhile, adopting from abroad has also become harder. According to the State Department, almost 23,000 children were adopted from abroad in 2004; last year, only 5,400 were...The federal government has also become more hostile. The result, says Elizabeth Bartholet of the child-advocacy programme at Harvard University, is that thousands of children linger in grim institutions.

  • Why do more L.A. County black children end up in foster care? Experts clash over the reason

    February 16, 2017

    Black children account for eight out of 100 Los Angeles County children, yet they make up 28 out of 100 foster children, according to Department of Children and Family Services data. The reason for that difference is a subject of dispute among child welfare professionals...Elizabeth Bartholet, the director of Harvard Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, was among the skeptics of the path Los Angeles had chosen. As a young lawyer, Bartholet had worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and had, over her career, mentored a generation of civil rights attorneys. Bartholet marshaled data to argue that when poverty and neighborhood characteristics are used to analyze foster care rates, race disappears as an explanatory factor.

  • Re-Aligning U.S. State Department Policy to Support Child Rights to Family

    January 19, 2017

    An op-ed by Elizabeth Bartholet and Chuck Johnson. The current State Department has developed policies that have been disastrous for children languishing in institutions abroad. There are many millions of such children, some of them orphaned, some abandoned by or removed from their birth parents. Most of these children have no likelihood of finding a family in their country of origin. International adoption provides their best prospect for a family, and the social science shows that such adoption works extremely well for children, helping repair damage done prior to adoption and enabling children adopted at early ages to thrive. By contrast the brain and social science shows that institutions cause mental, emotional and physical damage destructive of a child’s potential.

  • Incoming Trump administration heightens anxiety about reversal in Title IX progress

    January 17, 2017

    When Maddy Moore arrived at Georgetown University as a freshman almost four years ago, she signed up to be a peer educator on sexual assault. At that time, there was growing momentum behind the issue on college campuses across the country...But with the election of Donald Trump, who confided on tape to a reporter that he can kiss and grab women by the genitals without their consent, Moore, now a senior, and her peers are concerned...For opponents of the 2011 directive, having schools step in for courts doesn't create a fair system of justice and may treat alleged perpetrators unfairly. Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who signed the May letter, said the new interpretation of the scope of Title IX has lowered the bar to serious consequences, such as expulsion. "Clearly [sexual assault] is a problem and should be addressed," Bartholet said in a phone interview. "At the same time, what the Obama Administration did in the Dear Colleague letter has gone way beyond."

  • Uniting Obama and Trump to save children

    January 5, 2017

    An op-ed by Elizabeth Bartholet and Chuck Johnson: The outgoing and incoming administrations are battling over pending regulations and appointments. The Obama administration wants to solidify its policies, and the transitional Trump team wants a free hand implementing new policies. Understandably, there is little room for agreement on many of these issues. But there is one area where the president and the president-elect should be able to unite — protecting children globally against the horrors of institutional life, and enabling prospective parents to bring those children into their homes and hearts.

  • The Obama Administration Is About To Make International Adoption A Lot Harder

    November 2, 2016

    ...Over the past 12 years, inter-country adoption in America has dropped off by a staggering 75 percent, with last year’s total of 5,647 the lowest since 1981. Other major receiving countries have experienced the same sharp decline—driven not a by global decrease in orphans, but by the changing politics of adoption...Child welfare advocates like Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet go even further, arguing that children have a fundamental human right to a permanent family, and that countries denying international adoption while keeping children in state care are guilty of violating human rights.

  • Should marijuana use matter in child welfare cases?

    October 28, 2016

    Massachusetts child welfare officials are warning that a provision buried deep in the ballot measure to legalize marijuana could effectively tie the hands of social workers entrusted with protecting the state’s most vulnerable children. The little-noticed provision states that parents’ marijuana use, possession, and cultivation can’t be the primary basis for taking away custody — or other parental rights like visitation — unless there is “clear, convincing and articulable evidence that the person’s actions related to marijuana have created an unreasonable danger to the safety” of a child...Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard Law School professor, said she believes the section of the proposed law is comparable to the current standard in child welfare and she said she has no concerns about it. Still, said Bartholet, a child welfare expert, “it does reduce the likelihood that use and even abuse of marijuana would count in and of itself as grounds for state intervention to protect children.”

  • The challenges of international adoption (video)

    October 3, 2016

    ...The international adoption system can be murky. Critics say it is not in the best interests of children to be adopted by families from another country and to grow up outside their native culture. But supporters insist if children are given a loving home, that in itself is in a child’s best interest...On this episode of The Stream, we speak with...Elizabeth Bartholet, Director, Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.

  • Elizabeth Bartholet, Dean Martha Minow, Snow Wu, and Paulo Barrozo S.J.D. posing together

    Children of All Nations supports work of Child Advocacy Program with $250,000 gift

    September 23, 2016

    The Child Advocacy Program (CAP) of Harvard Law School recently received a $250,000 gift from Children of All Nations (CAN). The gift, which will be distributed over five years, will provide funding to CAP to pursue its international human rights work on behalf of unparented children and their right to family.

  • US can save children by upholding international adoption rights

    May 24, 2016

    An op-ed by Elizabeth Bartholet and Paulo Barrozo. Republican Representative Tom Marino of Pennsylvania and Democratic co-sponsors David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jim McDermott of Washington, and Brian Higgins of New York introduced a bill last week that would put the United States in the position of supporting — rather than undermining — the human rights of children worldwide. It is a simple bill, consisting of only a few lines of text and requiring no new resources. But it would have a profound effect on one of the most significant human rights crises of our time. The bill would essentially tell the State Department to stop discriminating against children through its refusal to consider the violations of human rights inherent in their unnecessary institutionalization.

  • Dershowitz and Other Professors Decry ‘Pervasive and Severe Infringement’ of Student Rights

    May 19, 2016

    A group of law professors are accusing the civil rights office of the U.S. Education Department of taking “unlawful actions” that have led to “pervasive and severe infringements” of speech rights and due-process protections on college campuses. An open letter signed by Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz and 20 other legal scholars blasts a series of directives issued by the federal office to schools on dealing with sexual misconduct and harassment complaints from students...Other signers include New York University law professor Richard Epstein, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephanos Bibas and UPenn history professor Alan Charles Kors, co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

  • Harvard Law profs challenge federal sex-assault ‘guidance’

    May 18, 2016

    A collection of prominent law school professors, including Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, shot back at President Barack Obama’s Education Department over its practice of using “Dear Colleague” letters to lay down policy mandates that ride roughshod over Americans’ constitutional rights. A letter from the educators dated Monday asserts that the department’s civil rights office “has unlawfully expanded the nature and scope of institutions’ responsibility to address sexual harassment” through its directives regarding Title IX, the 1972 law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex in providing access to education...Dershowitz joined three colleagues from Harvard Law School in Cambridge to sign the letter, along with 17 other professors hailing from schools scattered across the country. The letter also quotes one of the signatories, Harvard civil rights expert Elizabeth Bartholet, who called the elimination of due process “madness” in 2014.

  • How The Hunting Ground Spreads Myths About Campus Rape

    November 22, 2015

    On Sunday night, CNN will air The Hunting Ground—a work of activist propaganda disguised as a documentary about sexual assault on American college campuses....Nineteen Harvard University law professors have denounced the film for (among other faults) misrepresenting the case of Harvard law student Brandon Winston, whose life was put on hold after a night of drunken, drug-fueled sexual contact resulted in his expulsion from the university and criminal charges. “What our student did is not the kind of violent, repeat sexual assault that the movie claims is both the nature of the problem nationwide and that each of the people in the film are an example of that,” said Elizabeth Batholet, one of the Harvard law professors speaking out about The Hunting Ground’s errors, in an interview with Reason. “That’s an amazing lie at the heart of a movie claiming to be a documentary.”...“Three good years of his life have gone solely to this,” said Harvard Law Professor Janet Halley, who also rejects The Hunting Ground’s narrative, in an interview with Reason. “It’s not right for the filmmakers to extend it out to yet another trial in the court of public opinion, when the underlying claims have been so conclusively rejected. It’s bad for the overall effort for justice, and it’s bad for this young man.”...“We who have spoken out at Harvard are completely committed to addressing sexual assault,” said Bartholet. “It’s horrible that this film is coming out that is now misrepresenting the nature of the problem and diverting attention away from how we can address it.”

  • Elizabeth Bartholet of Harvard on DCF policy change

    November 19, 2015

    Elizabeth Bartholet, Faculty Director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard University, discusses Governor Baker's decision to drop the two case system in DCF.

  • 19 Harvard Law professors pen letter denouncing ‘The Hunting Ground’

    November 12, 2015

    Nineteen Harvard Law professors have written a letter condemning "The Hunting Ground," a film purporting to be a documentary about campus sexual assault. The film has been getting some Oscar buzz, and CNN is preparing to air the program next week. In a press package for the film, CNN singled out a story in the film about a sexual assault accusation at Harvard. The press packet named the accused student, even though he was not identified in the film. The 19 professors want to be sure viewers are aware that the film is highly misleading...The 19 professors include feminist icon Nancy Gertner; outspoken critics of campus rape hysteria Elizabeth Bartholet, Janet Halley and Jeannie Suk; as well as President Obama's former mentor Charles Ogletree.

  • In Arbitration, a ‘Privatization of the Justice System’

    November 2, 2015

    ...Over the last 10 years, thousands of businesses across the country — from big corporations to storefront shops — have used arbitration to create an alternate system of justice. There, rules tend to favor businesses, and judges and juries have been replaced by arbitrators who commonly consider the companies their clients, The Times found...Elizabeth Bartholet, an arbitrator in Boston who has handled more than 100 cases, agreed that many arbitrators had good intentions, but she said that the system made it challenging to remain unbiased. Ms. Bartholet recalled that after a company complained that she had scheduled an extra hearing for a plaintiff, the arbitration firm she was working with canceled it behind her back. A year later, she said, she was at an industry conference when she overheard two people talking about how an arbitrator in Boston had almost cost that firm a big client. “It was a conference on ethics, if you can believe it,” said Ms. Bartholet, a law professor at Harvard.

  • Baby Bella just 1 of 110 children to slip through cracks in protective services

    October 29, 2015

    The Massachusetts department charged with protecting children from abuse "didn't do enough" to protect the Bella Bond, whose remains were found in a trash bag on Deer Island in June. It took police three months to identify Bella's body...A report issued Wednesday by The Office of the Child Advocate said the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) said that previous allegations of Bella’s neglect and abuse “should have warranted a higher response level.”...Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard law professor and national critic of the two-track program, told NECIR that “especially for children in the lower-risk category, best interest of the child is clearly not the standard.”

  • Document Offers Insight Into Harvard’s Sexual Assault Policies

    October 15, 2015

    Students accused of violating Harvard’s sexual harassment policy may turn to attorneys as their personal advisers, and if they successfully appeal investigators’ decision in their case, a body of faculty and senior administrators will rehear it, according to a new document clarifying Harvard’s handling of complaints. On Monday, following heavy scrutiny, administrators with Harvard’s central Title IX office released a 10-page Frequently Asked Questions document offering more details about the University’s policy and procedures governing its response to sexual assault on campus...According to Jeannie C. Suk, a Law School professor and vocal critic of Harvard’s central Title IX framework, representatives from Harvard’s Office of the General Counsel in fall 2014 had indicated plans to release an FAQ document about the policies. Officials also consulted Law faculty members when crafting them, according to Karvonides. The guidance document released Monday seems responsive to many of Suk and her colleagues’ criticisms. “These FAQs show that the University can listen to reason on this sensitive and controversial topic,” said Janet E. Halley, a Law School professor who has led an effort at Harvard and across the country challenging what she argues is the federal government’s overzealous approach to Title IX compliance...“I think they have actually addressed the worst problems on the substantive policy side,” said Elizabeth Bartholet, one of 28 Law School faculty members who signed a letter slamming the policy last year in The Boston Globe. In particular, Bartholet praised the document’s clarification of the difference between “incapacitation” and “intoxication,” as well as its affirmation of protections for academic freedom.

  • DCF’s new strategy could see more families split up

    October 13, 2015

    The tension is right there in the agency’s name — the Department of Children and Families — and in its mission statement, which charges it with both protecting children from abuse and holding together unstable families...Now, Governor Charlie Baker has made it clear that he believes the balance has tilted too far in one direction....Still, it remains to be seen if the governor will fundamentally shift the agency’s mission, said Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard Law School professor who argued that such a change would require an overhaul of the policy that separates high-risk and low-risk cases. “Simply saying safety is our priority is what everybody always says,” Bartholet said. “Without specifics, DCF is never going to do that on its own.”