Student faculty dating
They want to be sure the school isn’t making it more difficult for people concerned about sexual harassment to address the problem.
Harvard provided a brief and decidedly unsexy 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.
“We’re using this opportunity to reaffirm our priorities as teachers,” said Alison Johnson, a Harvard history professor, “and to imagine what we’re seeing when we’re looking at these students, and what we’re not seeing. We are seeing students.” A small but growing number of colleges, including Yale and the University of Connecticut, now have written policies banning such relationships, Bloomberg reported.
The new policy comes at a time when sex and gender issues — all the ways that people define themselves, their sexuality, their relationships, and how they interact with one another — are relentlessly discussed on college campuses.
That’s not because they think there’s all kinds of professor-student dating on campus: The professor who led the panel that wrote the policy said she has never heard of it happening, in years of studying and teaching at Harvard.
It prohibits dating, romantic, or sexual relationships between faculty and students, with limited exceptions set forth in the policy.
When a sexual relationship exists, effective steps should be taken to ensure unbiased evaluation or supervision of the student.” In some ways, it’s easier for schools to ban such relationships so they’re not forced into taking sides — or acting as judge and jury — in cases where a student or faculty member complains about harassment, or worse, Dziech said.
Scores of universities are under scrutiny from the federal government for its handling of sexual assault cases, as the Obama administration uses Title IX legislation, which bars discrimination based on gender, to pressure colleges on the issue.
The American Association of University Professors stopped short of recommending a ban on relationships, but it sounded a similar warning, saying that professor-student romantic relationships can make voluntary consent by a student suspect because of the power dynamic.
In a statement, the organization also said that sexual relationships can later make the faculty member and the institution vulnerable to allegations of sexual harassment.
Even when the faculty member and student act with integrity, others may perceive bias, partiality, or influence.