Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment and Other Sexual Misconduct

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, on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination in that it denies an individual equal access to the University’s programs or activities.

The Harvard University Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy was developed in response to the changes issued by the U.S. Department of Education in May 2020, and conduct that falls outside of the jurisdiction of that policy is addressed in the Harvard University Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy.

According to the University Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, sexual harassment is defined in the following way: Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature or based on sexual orientation or gender identity, that satisfies one or more of the following: (1) an employee of the University either explicitly or implicitly conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or services of the University, such as an individual’s employment or academic standing (for example, academic evaluation, grades, or advancement) on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo); quid pro quo sexual harassment can occur whether a person resists and suffers the threatened harm, or the person submits and avoids the threatened harm. Both situations could constitute discrimination on the basis of sex; or (2) unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education or work programs or activities; or (3) sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

The University Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy defines “other sexual misconduct” in the following way: "Other sexual misconduct is unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Other sexual misconduct includes unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature or based on sexual orientation or gender identity, that satisfies one or more of the following: (1) an employee of the University either explicitly or implicitly conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or services of the University, such as an individual’s employment or academic standing (for example, academic evaluation, grades, or advancement) on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo), which may occur whether a person resists and suffers the threatened harm or the person submits and avoids the threatened harm; or (2) unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it effectively denies a person access to the University’s education or work programs or activities (hostile environment).

While the FAS adheres to the University policies, the Interim FAS Policies and Procedures Addressing Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Sexual Misconduct elaborates on and supplements the University policies.

The FAS Interim Policies prohibit 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, proctor, 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. In addition, no resident tutor or freshman proctor shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with, any undergraduate student at Harvard College.

The FAS Interim Policies contain the following provision regarding information sharing and confidentiality: “Consistent with University policies, the FAS officers, other than those who are prohibited from making such notifications because of a legal confidentiality obligation, must promptly notify the relevant Title IX Resource Coordinator(s) about possible sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct. This means that if those FAS officers learn about a possible incident of sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct, they need to contact an FAS Title IX Resource Coordinator, who will know what steps, if any, to take next (including which other Title IX Resource Coordinators should be notified). Such FAS officers include (but are not limited to): deans; administrative and professional staff; those responsible for residential life (for example, Faculty Deans, Resident Deans, Resident and Non-Resident Tutors, Resident Advisors, and Proctors); coaches and assistant coaches; other personnel who work directly with students, such as those who work with student clubs and organizations, career services, academic support, and others; and faculty, instructors, teaching assistants, and others who teach students, including graduate student teaching fellows.