Harvard University has instituted a total ban on sex between professors and students.
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 the Arts and Science Committee on Sexual Misconduct Policy said that the school’s language on “relationships of unequal status” was not stern 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 had prohibited sex between professors and students only where the student was under direct supervision of the professor.
“As part of this process, we thought a lot about the way that power dynamics can contribute to sexual harassment,” Alison Johnson, a Harvard history professor who led the committee said in an email, adding that the policy makes clear “a longstanding expectation that professors focus on the intellectual development of our students.”