Harvard University banned professors from having “sexual or romantic relationships” with undergraduates, joining a list of campuses that have taken similar steps.
Many colleges discourage but don’t ban sex between professors and students. While a national professors’ group doesn’t favor such a prohibition, recent moves by Harvard, Yale University and the University of Connecticut suggest the tide may be turning.
“Undergraduates come to college to learn from us,” said Alison Johnson, a Harvard history professor who chaired the panel that wrote the policy. “We’re not here to have sexual or romantic relationships with them.”
Harvard’s earlier policy was narrower, specifying that relationships with “one’s students” are inappropriate — suggesting that relationships were prohibited only when a student was in a professor’s class. Under U.S. Education Department investigation for its responses to sexual assault and harassment reports, Harvard began a universitywide review of its policies in 2013.