Statement of Principles, and Moving Forward

March 8, 2018
Harvard  University

Department of Government

Jennifer Hochschild, Chair

Statement of Principles, and Moving Forward


Recent articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education have reported allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by Professor Jorge Dominguez, a faculty member in our department. We in the Department of Government were appalled to hear of these concerns and to learn that the allegations span decades. The Department is unambiguously committed to the policy and practice of zero tolerance of sexual harassment and assault, or gendered disparity of treatment; in positive terms, we are committed to creating an atmosphere of safe, healthy, and robust intellectual engagement with each other as teachers, students, and colleagues.  This statement outlines the actions we are taking and plan to take in order to put that commitment into practice.


The Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Michael Smith, has placed Professor Dominguez on administrative leave, pending a full and fair review by the University of the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations that have come to light. This means that he is no longer on campus, nor will he be teaching or performing other administrative duties. Professor Dominguez has announced his intention to retire from Harvard as of June 30, 2018, but his forthcoming retirement does not change the active review underway.


The Department of Government has turned its focus to addressing the conditions that allowed an apparent pattern of harassment to continue, and prevented it from coming to light. We acknowledge with deep regret that not only Harvard University but also the Department has let our students and colleagues down by not recognizing a pattern of problems, and for not establishing institutions and a culture that would empower victims or those with knowledge of harmful behavior to come forward and seek redress.


The allegations against Professor Dominguez have revealed broader, more systemic interactions that disadvantage some students and can prevent all from achieving their greatest intellectual and professional potential. That is not acceptable. As we move forward, we will seek individually and collectively to address concerns about inappropriate power dynamics, gendered interactions, disruptive fear or anxiety, and other constraints on genuine discourse and free exchange of ideas.  We have held and will continue to hold both designated and informal meetings among ourselves and with students and other members of the University community. The Department is establishing a standing Climate Change Committee and implementing other reforms both immediately and in the future.  We strive for transparency, mutual kindness and respect, and well-targeted changes, in a spirit of partnership and inquiry. These are the first of many steps we intend to take to ensure that all members of the Government community may participate in a safe, healthy, and intellectually exciting environment.


Jennifer Hochschild

Harvard University

Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government, and

Professor of African and African American Studies

Chair, Department of Government

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