New Harvard Policy Bans Teacher-Student Relations

The article written be Ashley Southall delves into Harvard’s recent ban on romantic or sexual relationships between students and teachers in response to Title X, federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education. The authors note that the unequal power balance in such relationships can be very harmful for a student, giving the teacher an unreasonable amount of control over their partner, thus deeming consent hard to establish. However, the drive behind this recent ban seems to be the possibility of the university being financially liable for any sexual misconduct. Universities seem to want to watch their own back rather than look out for vulnerable students.

Read an excerpt of the article written by ASHLEY SOUTHALL:

Harvard University has adopted a ban on professors’ having sexual or romantic relationships with undergraduate students, joining a small but growing number of universities prohibiting such relationships. The move comes as the Obama administration investigates the handling of accusations of sexual assault at dozens of colleges, including Harvard. The ban clarifies an earlier policy that labeled sexual and romantic relationships between professors and the students they teach as inappropriate, but did not explicitly prohibit professors from having relationships with students they did not teach. Harvard said Thursday that the change had been made after a panel reviewing the institution’s policy on Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education, determined that the university’s existing policy language on “relationships of unequal status did not explicitly reflect the faculty’s expectations of what constituted an appropriate relationship between undergraduate students and faculty members.” It said the policy had been revised “to include a clear prohibition to better accord with these expectations.” The change was recommended by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Committee on Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures. more

How to get over a breakup

How to get over a breakup? Journaling? Does it make hurt feelings worse or better? Psychologist James W. Pennebaker feels that when people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health.’’ Talking about it? Ms. Larson and Dr. Sbarra performed a few exercises. The speaking exercise helped people  because ‘‘it improved their sense of self-independent of their former partner. Dr. Sbarra explained, ‘‘and so you touch on it, you think about it, you put it out there, you reflect, and then you sort of create some distance. 

Read an excerpt from the article written by Anna North:

Writing about your feelings, a practice long embraced by teenagers and folk singers, is now attracting attention as a path to good health. And a recent study suggests that reflecting on your emotions could help you get over a breakup. But, one of its authors says, journaling can have its downsides. Is structured self-reflection, as some suggest, a healthy tuneup for the heart and head — or can it make hurt feelings worse? For a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, Grace M. Larson, a graduate student at Northwestern University, and David A. Sbarra, a psychology professor at the University of Arizona, Tucson, looked at self-reflection through a speaking exercise. They recruited 210 young people (they ranged in age from 17 to 29) who had recently broken up with their partners, and then split this brokenhearted sample into two groups. One filled out a questionnaire on how they were feeling, then completed a four-minute assignment in which they were asked to talk into a recording device, free-associating in response to questions like, ‘‘When did you first realize you and your partner were headed toward breaking up?’’ This group repeated the same exercise three, six and nine weeks later. The second group filled out the questionnaire only at the beginning and at the end of the nine-week study period (they also did the speaking exercise, but only after filling out their final questionnaires). Ms. Larson and Dr. Sbarra found that the breakup sufferers in the first group experienced greater improvements in ‘‘self-concept clarity’’ than those in the second. Dr. Sbarra defines self-concept clarity as ‘‘the degree to which you understand yourself as a person.’’ He and Ms. Larson measured it by asking subjects how much they agreed with statements like ‘‘I do not feel like myself anymore’’ or ‘‘I have regained my identity.’’ Much of our understanding of ourselves can be bound up in our relationships with our partners, Dr. Sbarra explained. And the speaking exercise helped people because ‘‘it improved their sense of self independent of their former partner.’’ That improved sense of self, in turn, led to reductions in loneliness and ‘‘emotional intrusion.’’ ...Read more