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US backs student's claim that Harvard ignored professor's sexual harassment

Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday backed a lawsuit filed by three graduate students accusing Harvard of ignoring sexual harassment by a professor. Said it would threaten their academic careers if they reported him. , and not proposed by any faculty member.

Harvard had made this argument in seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed in February alleging that anthropology professor John Komarov had kissed and groped students for years and threatened them if students complained will destroy their careers.

In a rare filing of its kind, the Department of Justice argues that 1972 Title IX of the Education Amendment protects students from reporting sex discrimination without fear of being sued. to the ability to retaliate.

“To this end, schools must protect students who participate in Title IX procedures from retaliation and respond effectively to known acts of retaliation by their employees,” the department said.

Lawyers for Harvard and Comaroff, who are not defendants, did not respond to requests for comment. Comaroff denies harassing or retaliation against anyone.

In the lawsuit, Margaret Czerwienski, Lilia Kilburn and Amulya Mandava said they were among the students who reported Comaroff to Harvard officials.

Yet, despite these warnings, Harvard watched him retaliate by ensuring that students “can’t find work.”

“We are pleased to see the government confirm that Harvard cannot Pushing the blame for retaliation by its faculty. The Harvard Crimson reported that Komarov returned to the classroom on Tuesday to teach his first class since administrative leave in January.

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