Sexual Harassment

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) is committed to fostering an open and supportive community that promotes learning, teaching, research, and discovery.  This commitment includes maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Because sexual and gender-based harassment – including, but not limited to, sexual violence – interfere with an individual’s ability to participate fully in or benefit fully from University programs or activities, they constitute unacceptable forms of discrimination.

The FAS "Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy," available at http://www.fas.harvard.edu/sexual-gender-based-harassment-policyresources, is a policy statement describing what constitutes sexual and gender-based harassment; it defines sexual harassment in the following way:

"Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when (1) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing or is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement (quid pro quo); or (2) such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s education or work programs or activities (hostile environment)."

Gender-based harassment is defined in the following way:

"Gender-based harassment is verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostile conduct based on sex, sex-stereotyping, sexual orientation or gender identity, but not involving conduct of a sexual nature, when such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, pervasive that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s education or work programs or activities. For example, persistent disparagement of a person based on a perceived lack of stereotypical masculinity or femininity or exclusion from an activity based on sexual orientation or gender identity also may violate this policy."

In addition, the policy prohibits sexual relations with students in the following way:

“No FAS Faculty member shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with, any undergraduate student at Harvard College. Faculty members are defined as ladder, non-ladder, and visiting faculty.

Furthermore, no FAS Faculty member, instructor, teaching assistant, teaching fellow, researcher, tutor, graduate student, or undergraduate course assistant, shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with, any student, including a graduate student or DCE student, who is enrolled in a course taught by that individual or otherwise subject to that individual’s academic supervision before the supervision has concluded and, if applicable, a final grade on the student’s supervised academic performance has been submitted to the Registrar. Academic supervision includes teaching, advising a thesis or dissertation, supervising research, supervising teaching, grading, or serving as Director of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies of the student’s academic program.”

The University Policy provides that University officers, other than those who are prohibited from making such notifications because of a legal confidentiality obligation, must promptly notify the School or Unit Title IX Coordinator about possible sexual or gender-based harassment. This means that if those University officers learn about a possible incident, they need to contact the Title IX Coordinator, who will determine what steps, if any, to take next.