Anurima Bhargava served as the Chief of the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2010-2016, where she led federal enforcement of civil rights laws in schools and institutions of higher education. She served on the White House Task Force to Prevent Campus Sexual Assault, and worked closely across federal agencies and with the Office of Violence Against Women to issue guidance and provide a comprehensive platform to combat sexual assault and harassment. She spearheaded the groundbreaking and comprehensive investigation of sexual assault in Missoula, Montana, the first-ever to hold to account the university, campus police, local law enforcement and the county attorney’s office for violating federal civil rights laws.
Since leaving the Administration, she has continued to play a leading national role in addressing and responding to the rollback of protections related to sexual assault and harassment. She wrote the statement issued by more than 125 organizations and movement leaders after the withdrawal of the sexual assault guidance by the current administration. She continues to advise public and private institutions, as well as civil rights advocates, on policy and strategy related to sexual harassment and assault.
After leaving the Justice Department, Ms. Bhargava was selected as an inaugural Leadership in Government Fellow at the Open Society Foundations, where her work is focused on addressing the trauma that children experience after incidents of violence. She was a 2016-17 Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Spring 2016 Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, where she led a university-wide study group on sexual assault and race.
Prior to joining the Justice Department, Ms. Bhargava was counsel and Director of the Education Practice at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She also worked as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch, where she was a founding member of the Global Growth Group, and served as counsel to the New York City Department of Education.
Ms. Bhargava has produced and regularly consults on films, and has both chaired and served on numerous boards, currently including Doc Society (fmr. BritDoc), Poverty Race Research Action Council, the Leadership Council to End Sexual Violence in Education, Broadway Advocacy Coalition and the Advisory Board for Public Service at Harvard University. She is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar, a Partner with the Truman National Security Project; and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ms. Bhargava earned her law degree from Columbia Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College. She was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, and is a graduate of Kenwood Academy.