11.9.15 | Shannon Thomas
Hypothetical #2: The Post Study Session
Jordan and Lee meet at a party, where Lee begins to flirt with Jordan. Both are new students at HKS [Harvard Kennedy School]... Lee starts to kiss and touch Jordan, who is surprised but does not resist. Although confused about the situation, Jordan voluntarily kisses and touches Lee back. Lee then initiates sex with Jordan. Jordan hesitates and says, "I don't think this is a great idea," but does not move. Jordan starts to cry. They have sex.
The aforementioned scenario is not a product of my imagination, but a direct quote from the Title IX orientation materials at Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS). In our first week on campus, my peers and I were asked to discuss this hypothetical to figure out what, if anything, we would have done differently. Perhaps more disturbing than the tragic story presented was the fact that our group of 60 Master's students could not come to consensus on whether or not this case constituted sexual assault. When we asked the supervising faculty if the situation would be considered rape at Harvard, we were told it was up for us to debate; when we asked about the Harvard definition of consent, we were told there is none; when we left, we were appalled.