After four centuries as one of the nation’s most elite learning institutions, Harvard University instituted a total ban on professors having “sexual or romantic relationships” with students, while the University of California continues to steer clear of issuing a ban.
The University of California views professor/undergraduate relationships as unacceptable, according to the institution’s faculty code of conduct, but does not issue any kind of ban.
Harvard announced the ban on Thursday, explaining that the old policy “did not explicitly reflect the faculty’s expectations of what constituted an appropriate relationship between undergraduate students and faculty members.”
Harvard professor Alison Johnson told the Los Angeles Times, “We are certainly not the first university to institute such a ban, and I think most universities expect their faculty to refrain from such relationships, whether or not they formally ban them.”
According to Bloomberg Business, Yale University and the University of Connecticut have also instituted restrictions banning professors from engaging in sexual relationships with undergraduates.
The Harvard ban also includes Arts and Sciences faculty from sexual relations with graduate students who are under their supervision.
Johnson said matter-of-factly that the students come to the university to learn from the professors. “We’re not here to have sexual or romantic relationships with them.”
University of Southern California officials on Thursday presented the Times with a USC handbook, but did not elaborate on their polices on such relationships. The handbook reads, “Faculty and supervisors should seriously consider the risks to their own professional and private lives, as well as those created for the student or supervisee before entering into such a relationship.”