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Harvard University Bans Sex Between Professors and Undergraduate Students

Harvard Law School and Harvard College are part of an investigation into sexual discrimination and violence by the U.S. Department of Education.
Jorge Salcedo / Shutterstock / Jorge Salcedo

Harvard University has banned its faculty members from having sex with undergraduates, revising a conduct policy that school officials decided did not sufficiently recognize the "unequal status" between professors and students.

The change, which was first reported by Bloomberg on Thursday, came about as part of a review of the Ivy League institution's Title IX policy on sexual and gender-based harassment, according to a statement released to NBC News. The statement said the review by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which oversees the school's undergrad programs, found that the "existing language on relationships of unequal status did not explicitly reflect the faculty’s expectations of what constituted an appropriate relationship between undergraduate students and faculty members."

The new policy amends a conduct policy to say that "no FAS (Faculty of Arts and Sciences) faculty member shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with, any undergraduate student at Harvard College." The policy also says that professors may not have sexual relations with graduate students who are under their "academic supervision."


— Elisha Fieldstadt