Consensual romantic or sexual relationships that might be appropriate in other circumstances have inherent risks when they occur between any Harvard Chan School of Public Health faculty member or non-faculty academic appointee, fellow, or officer and any person over whom he/she has a professional responsibility, e.g., as a teacher, advisor, or supervisor. Such relationships are fundamentally asymmetric, and are considered to be unprofessional under this policy because, among other things, they may create an impression within the Harvard community of inappropriate or inequitable academic or professional advantage or favoritism that can be destructive of the learning or working environment. Depending on the circumstances, such relationships also may be considered an abuse of authority.
Harvard Chan faculty and non-faculty academic appointees, fellows, and officers should be aware that any romantic or sexual involvement with a Harvard Chan student violates School policy, even if they have no supervisory, teaching, advising, or other professional responsibility for that student, and makes them liable to complaint and formal action.
Harvard Chan School faculty and non-faculty academic appointees, fellows, and officers also should be aware that any romantic or sexual involvement with trainees, junior colleagues, or staff members over whom they have a professional responsibility makes them liable to complaint and formal action. Even when both parties have initially consented to such a relationship, it is the more senior individual, who, by virtue of his/her special responsibility, is accountable for the unprofessional relationship or abuse of authority. If a romantic or sexual relationship develops in this context, the person in the position of greater authority – whether as supervisor, teacher, or advisor – promptly must notify the Senior Director of Human Resources or the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs to evaluate the situation and ensure that alternate reporting or evaluative arrangements are put in place.
Jennifer M. Ivers
Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Title IX Resource Coordinator
Senior Director for HR and Title IX Resource Coordinator