Title IX Liaison

Welcome to the webpage for the Government Department Title IX Liaison.

The Title IX Liaison position was created by the Department in 2019 in the wake of the Departments and the Universitys mishandling of a decades-long case of repeated sexual harassment by a faculty member in the Department (See the Chronicle of Higher Education investigation of the case here and here; the Departmental Climate Change Committee recommendations, and the University’s summary of the case).

In the words of the Departments description of the position, The Liaison should serve as an accessible point of contact to whom students, staff, and faculty may turn for information and advice regarding behavior or practices that affect their ability to pursue excellence in teaching and learning regardless of background.”

The central focus of the Liaison position is related to Title IX issues concerning sexual and gender-based discrimination, including sexual violence. The position is the Departments liaison to local Title IX coordinators, the University Title IX Office, and other related campus resources. The Liaison is a neutral point of contact for students, staff, and faculty within the department, supporting individuals in response to concerns regarding sexual and gender harassment. The Liaison is also responsible for disseminating information to members of the Department of Government community about Title IX procedures, as well as the campus resources available to community members with concerns about harassment, discrimination, or other unacceptable behavior or practices.

The Liaison position also has a broader ombuds-like role to help with other issues that can affect the progress of students through the program as well as the working environment for staff and faculty (e.g., racial or ethnic discrimination, mental health, physical health, family issues). Members of the Department community can come to the Liaison for resources and support about these issues, or to get more information about relevant university policies and procedures.

The Liaison will also work to increase awareness of these issues around the Department through group meetings and one-on-one conversations with students, staff, and faculty, and the dissemination of relevant materials (e.g. the latest research on, and best-practices for, reducing or preventing sexual and gender discrimination and other forms of inappropriate behavior).

The Liaison position is not the sole point of contact for dealing with these issues. It is one among many options. People should feel free to approach anyone inside or outside the Department with whom they feel comfortable sharing their concerns about discrimination, health, and work issues. The Liaison position aims to help create an atmosphere that makes members of the Department more comfortable reporting misconduct and, for students, more comfortable seeking help in dealing with the pressures of the academic profession.

As a Responsible Employee, the Liaison must share with a Title IX Coordinator all known details, as relayed to the Liaison by an individual, about potential incidents of sexual or gender-based harassment. However, before revealing details to the Liaison, an individual has the option of working with others, on and/or off campus, who can provide varying degrees of confidentiality (e.g. lawyers, doctors, mental health clinicians, clergy, ombuds). The individual can decide whether or not to disclose a potential incident to the Liaison. Sharing a concern with a Title IX Coordinator or the University Title IX Office is not the same as filing a formal complaint; filing a formal complaint is a separate process handled by the Office for Dispute Resolution. Rather, the Coordinators are a resource to help you make an informed decision about which pathways are right for you. Title IX Coordinators can also arrange  interim measures (supports that help members of the Harvard community continue with their studies and work and to participate in campus life) and may facilitate informal resolutions, as appropriate, between the involved parties, with a goal of memorializing a mutually acceptable resolution in writing.

The Liaison is not required to share information related to non-Title IX issues, (e.g. mental or physical health). Rather the Liaisons role is to help members of the department find the appropriate resource to deal with these other issues.

The current Liaison is Prof. Iain Johnston. Iain’s teaching and research focus is on international relations theory and on China’s foreign policy. In his capacity as Liaison, Iain can be reached at 617.496.3965 or by email at johnston@fas.harvard.edu or GovLiaison@harvard.edu (not yet live). His drop-by office hours are Wednesdays 2-4 and Fridays 12-2 (K238), or you can also meet with him by appointment. The scope and responsibilities of the Liaison position are still works in progress, and Iain welcomes input and feedback from all members of the Department community as the position evolves.

  Professor Iain Johnston


Harvard has a wide range of resources related to the responsibilities of the Liaison position. Here are some of the places to look for assistance and information.



Office for Sexual Assault, Prevention & Response.      24-hr hotline  TEL: (617) 495-9100

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center     24-hour hotline  TEL: (800) 841-8371

Harvard University Police Department Anonymous Reporting Hotline.    TEL: 617-496-2700

Harvard University Anonymous Reporting Hotline     TEL: 877.694.2275

Harvard Title IX Office Anonymous Disclosure platform

National Suicide Prevention 24/7 Hotline:  TEL: 1-800-273-8255




Title IX Law (with respect to education)

Harvard University Title IX Office

Title IX Office Annual Reports

FAS Sexual & Gender-Based Harassment Policy/Resources

.           • FAS Title IX Coordinators (for students, staff, and faculty)

            • Policies

            • Procedures

Office for Dispute Resolution


Employee Reporting Responsibilities.

Responsible Employee obligations


Mental Health

Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services

Behavioral Health center

GSAS  Counseling resources


Academic Help

Academic Resource Center


Work-Life Balance

GSAS Office of Work/Life

GSAS Family Resources

Harvard Employee Assistance Program

The Pregnant Scholar (resource site)



Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct -- Harvard (2019)

Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academy of Sciences, 2018)

Research articles on gender bias and course evaluations

"Feeling overwhelmed by academia? You are not alone" Nature (2018)

"What to do to improve postgraduate mental health" Nature (2018)