By Christopher Brennan
Professors in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences will no longer be allowed to have sexual relationships with undergrads
- University’s previous policy only stopped sex with ‘one’s students’
- Professor relationships with grad students they supervise also banned
- Harvard and 93 other colleges under investigation for sexual assault policy
Harvard professors have been officially banned from having sex with undergraduate students at the university.
While many people assume that such behavior would be forbidden, some colleges and universities have less restrictive policies.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences’s previous policy had only banned sexual relations with ‘one’s students’ rather than students generally, according to Bloomberg News.
A document with Harvard’s new rules also states that professors cannot have sex or romantic relationships with graduate students under their supervision.
Relationships between graduate students and undergraduates are allowed as long as one of the partners is not grading or evaluating the other.
Harvard was among the first to ban professors from sex with students they taught when a policy was made in 1984 after a string of sexual misconduct allegations toward professors, according to the Crimson.
Many universities adopted similar or more restrictive policies in the 1980s and 90s.
Yale totally banned professor-undergrad relationships in 2010 and University of Connecticut did so in 2013.
However, some have voiced opposition such measures.
Anita Levy, a senior program officer at the American Association of University Professors, said that the relationships should not be completely barred.
‘These relationships are going to occur on campus and you must put as many ethical checks on them as possible, but a blanket prohibition doesn’t seem appropriate,’ she said.
The AAUP did say that such relationships between professors and students could lead to ‘exploitation’.
The changes at Harvard come as its undergraduate college remains under investigation by the US Department of Education for its handling of sexual assault and harassment cases.
It is not clear if any of the complaints were brought in professor-student interactions.
Ninety-four universities had pending Title IX investigations against them at the beginning of this year for their handling of sexual assault cases, according to the Huffington Post.
Harvard’s law school was also under investigation and found in violation of federal rules in December for two cases, including one where the student waited over a year for a decision about her sexual assault complaints.
The law school agreed to remedy its sexual assault procedures.
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