A Yale graduate and former quarterback is speaking out about the University’s sexual harassment policy. Patrick Witt said wrote in this Boston Globe op-ed that the policy, “nearly ruined [his] life.”
Witt is now a student at Harvard Law and is speaking out against Harvard’s adoption of a sexual harassment policy that is very similar to Yale’s. It’s a policy that will do more harm than good, according to Witt.
Witt gained national attention during his senior year when he was faced with a tough choice, keep an interview with the Rhodes Scholarship Trust or play in his last game of the season against Harvard, both were on the same day. Ultimately Witt chose to play in the game.
Soon after, word got around that Witt was the subject of a sexual assault complaint. In the op-ed Witt wrote in full detail about what he was accused of and said he was innocent but no investigation was made on his behalf:
The destructive power that Yale’s and now Harvard’s new sexual misconduct policies wield is immense
and grossly underestimated. By giving to unsubstantiated accusations the confoundingly difficult-to-define
title of “informal complaint” — and denying accused students an opportunity to clear their names — these policies
place the entire weight of the university’s reputation on the side of the accuser and against the accused.
After all, if you didn’t do anything wrong, then why has your school recognized a complaint against you, informal or otherwise?
Witt said not only was he humiliated but the complaint cost him his reputation, credibility and a chance at becoming an NFL quarterback. He argued the policy consequently carries the assumption of guilt.
The allegation surrounding Witt happened during a time when Yale University was accused of ignoring complaints.
Recently the University has seen a decrease in sexual assault reports and has worked to strengthen its sexual assault policy
by adding clarification through documents made for students.
Witt hopes with his story now fully out there, Harvard will reconsider its adoption of the sexual harassment policy he claims is unjust.
Recently, Witt was joined with 28 members of Harvard’s faculty who protested the new policy but to no avail.