- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2018

Harvard University is expanding course evaluations to allow students to report professors who say “offensive” things in class or make them feel “uncomfortable.”

The update to the Q Guide, the online course evaluation system at Harvard, was announced Thursday night by Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris, at a town hall convened to discuss the power dynamic between students and professors at the elite Ivy League institution.

When an attendee at the town hall mentioned a system for reporting “offensive” remarks already in place at Harvard’s School of Public Health, Mr. Harris said administrators are working to add a similar question to course evaluations.

“We are in the process of revising the Q forms,” Mr. Harris said, as reported by The Harvard Crimson. “There will be a question of some kind that at least is trying to get at that.”

The town hall came weeks after a Chronicle of Higher Education report in which 18 women accused government professor Jorge I. Dominquez of repeated acts of sexual harassment spanning several decades. Mr. Dominquez was placed on leave and announced his retirement shortly thereafter.

Attendees at Thursday’s town hall expressed fear that reporting misbehavior could result in academic or professional retaliation.

In response, Jennifer L. Hochschild, chair of the government department, suggested the creation of an electronic tip box that would allow students to report misconduct anonymously.

“We’ve got to figure out how to do this right,” Ms. Hochschild said. “But the broad idea is some kind of institutionalized pretty simple mechanism with a very low threshold in which people can anonymously say what’s going wrong, without having personally to come forward.”

Harvard’s effort to rid the classroom of “offensive” remarks, which was reported by The College Fix, comes amid a years-long campaign against single-sex finals clubs.

The university also recently placed a Christian student group on probation for allegedly asking a female leader to step down after she decided to date a woman.

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