The Harvard Office of Sexual Assault and Prevention has estimated that, in consistency with national statistics, 20% of the graduating women of the class of 2014 have experienced sexual assault. This means that approximately 206 women from our class have experienced sexual assault during their time at Harvard. This does not include male and gender queer students, or those who chose not to report.
Following citation of numerous inadequacies in Harvard's handling of sexual assault cases, the College is currently under federal investigation by the Department of Education for Title IX violations. Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendment requires universities receiving federal funding to fight sexual violence and respond to the needs of survivors. Harvard, along with many peer institutions - like Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Yale - has fallen short in providing for survivors and complying with Title IX.
On Thursday, May 29th, during commencement ceremonies, seniors are wearing red tape on their graduation caps in order to:
1. Stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence who are graduating today, as well as with those who are not able to do so.
2. Demand that Harvard be proactive in creating a safer campus in which cases of sexual assault are treated justly by the administration.
3. Send a message of support to survivors and student activists at our peer institutions like Columbia and Brown who have also demonstrated their commitment to survivors during their commencement ceremonies.