As government press releases go, the one of December 30 from the federal department of education is really something. It begins, "The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced today that it has entered into a resolution agreement with Harvard University and its Law School after finding the Law School in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for its response to sexual harassment, including sexual assault."
This is a law school whose dean from 2003 to 2009 was Elena Kagan, and whose dean from 2009 to now has been Martha Minow (a former law clerk to Thurgood Marshall). Since 2007 the president of Harvard has been Drew Faust. If an institution led by these eminent and almost certainly well-intentioned women can't follow the law, what does it say about the law?
Harvard apparently decided to simply defer to the demands of certain federal administrative officials, rather than exercise independent judgment about the kind of sexual harassment policy that would be consistent with law and with the needs of our students and the larger University community
The entire situation seems highly newsworthy, not least as a case of liberal Harvard law professors and academic administrators getting some firsthand experience with the excessive, arbitrary, and heavy-handed federal regulations that they often favor imposing on the rest of us.