Harvard: No more sex between professors and students
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard University wants to make it clear: Students and professors can't sleep together.
The school has instituted a total ban on professors having sex with undergraduate students, strengthening language the school said did not reflect the faculty's expectations on appropriate relationships between students and faculty members.
In a statement released Thursday, Harvard said the change came as part of a formal review of its Title IX policy, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex discrimination in education.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences Committee on Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures determined that the school's existing language on "relationships of unequal status" was not strong enough.
"Therefore, the Committee revised the policy to include a clear prohibition to better accord with these expectations," Harvard said in its statement.
The new rule reads, "No FAS [Faculty of Arts and Sciences] Faculty member shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in romantic or sexual relationship with, any undergraduate student at Harvard College."
Previously, the school prohibited professors from having sex with students under their direct supervision.
Alison Johnson, a Harvard history professor who led the committee, said the group spent the summer and fall of 2014 consulting with students, faculty and staff to get feedback.
"As part of this process, we thought a lot about the way that power dynamics can contribute to sexual harassment," Johnson said in an email, adding that the policy makes clear "a longstanding expectation that professors focus on the intellectual development of our students."
Some students said they didn't see an immediate need for the amendment, but agreed that it is a good idea.
"I haven't seen any particular situation where this has happened, but I can't see any disadvantage of this for the school," sophomore William Greenlaw told CBS News.
Harvard has about 2,400 faculty members and about 6,700 undergraduate students.
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