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Harvard officially bans teacher-student relationships


Harvard University has issued a new policy of banning sexual or romantic relationships between professors and undergraduate students, joining a small but growing quantity of universities banning such relationships, reports the New York Times.“I totally agree with this policy. If the professors want to date a young-age person, they should look somewhere else besides the colleges,” said Bobby Eggleston, a senior in bio-medical sciences from California. However, Alanna Norwood, a junior in biochemistry from California, said she thinks such a rule is irrelevant for BYU-Hawaii. “I don’t think it is necessary for all the BYU schools to have this kind of policy, as most of the professors on campus are married,” she said. Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Committee on Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures recommended this change. “Our rule is that if you are supervising, evaluating or grading someone, you should not have a sexual relationship with that person,” said Alison Johnson, a history professor who led the committee. According to that rule, the sexual harassment policy has been revised to not only ban sexual and romantic relationships between professors and all undergraduates, but also “between teaching staff, such as graduate students, and the students who fall under their supervision or evaluation,” wrote the New York Times.Sachi Dono, a sophomore from Japan majoring in psychology, said, “It is better for universities to have this policy. In Japan, there are no definite rules to say whether it is okay or not for teachers and students to have special relationships. Once a teacher goes beyond the normal relations with students, he may get fired or transferred to another school.” The American Association of University Professors does not support universities banning such relationships. However, the organization has admitted that with the unequal power dynamic, it is hard to determine consent about the intimate relationships between students and professors; therefore, college employees can easily have allegations of sexual harassment. Yao Lingwen, a sophomore in elementary education from China shared her opinion: “I don’t think universities having this policy can totally avoid sexual harassment. It is a different thing than dating. I just treat the relations between professors and students as normal as other dating situations.” Alanna Norwood, a junior in biochemistry from California, said, “If I know my friend is dating with a professor, I will still treat her as equal to others. Nothing special.” However, other students disagree. Bobby Eggleston said, “In the case a student in my class is dating the professor for that class, I would feel weird in some way.”Uploaded March 5, 2015
Writer: Siyang Chen