Harvard Bans Sex for Profs and The Nation’s Elite Undergrads.

seduction at HarvardHarvard bans sexual relationships between professors and undergrads

“(Harvard College) wasn’t some kind of crazy hippie commune where professors and undergraduate students were having sex with each other three weeks ago.” (quotes are from Washington Post interview with Professor Alison Jones)

Harvard College, the oh so adult community I attended fifty years ago, seems to have succumbed to a retro view where faculty are priests and nuns watching over precious but nubile children.  In an effort to nit be seen in the same light as the Vatican, Harvard’s  Faculty of Arts and Sciences now formally bans sexual relationships between professors and undergraduate students.

Alison Johnson, the professor who led the panel that wrote the policy said she has never heard of it happening, but that the policy was just in case. “We’re using this opportunity to reaffirm our priorities as teachers, and to imagine what we’re seeing when we’re looking at these students, and what we’re not seeing. We’re not seeing potential romantic partners. We are seeing students.  Professors can’t have sex with graduate students if they are teaching or supervising or evaluating them in some way. Graduate students can’t have sex with undergraduates if they are teaching them or grading them in some way.”

“We want to be careful not to become overly paternalistic or interfere with the choices in their lives, even choices we may think are unwise choices.”

The University  statement: “As part of a formal process to review Harvard University’s Title IX policy, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Committee on Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures, led by Professor Alison Johnson, determined 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. Therefore, the Committee revised the policy to include a clear prohibition to better accord with these expectations.”

I mourn for better times.


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