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Last week's article about Yale's new policy banning sexual relations between faculty and their students suggests that Harvard has a similar prohibition ("Faculty-Student Sex Banned at Yale," Nov. 18). However, the current Faculty of Arts and Sciences guidelines on sexual harassment and professional conduct are actually more similar to Yale's old policy than to the new regulations.
To quote from the FAS policy: "Officers and other members of the teaching staff should be aware that any romantic involvement with their students makes them liable for formal action against them." This language does not ban relations between faculty and their students; it merely suggests that such actions potentially open up faculty to charges from the student involved. Notice or complaint by a third party--student or Faculty--is generally not sufficient for investigation and/or disciplinary action.
Due to the inherent asymmetry in University status between students and Faculty, students involved with Faculty may not feel feel safe making such a complaint. Even though responsibility for the relationship is placed on the faculty member, the current Harvard policy does almost nothing to protect students who may not wish to be or remain in such a relationship. --Adam P. Fagen, GSAS; President, Graduate Student Council
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