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An individual commitment entails disseminating a message of zero tolerance of sexual misconduct; educating faculty, staff and students about norms of workplace behavior and reporting pathways for their violation; and, most critically, publicly supporting the victims who come forward to report incidences of sexual misconduct. The American Historical Association only addresses the prospect of sexual relationships in their “Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct” in the section on “Employment,” and even then, it’s only to proscribe sex discrimination or sexual harassment, both of which happen to be illegal in most states and/or already forbidden by university policy.
The reporting of misconduct by victims and bystanders should be recognized as courageous actions that are key to making our communities safer and stronger. Why should responsible academics and professors be afraid to forswear dating or sexual contact with any and all of our students? The implication here is that it’s only colleagues, not students, whom one must be careful about propositioning sexually, and it’s only What responsible, mature person would have a problem with that rule?
"I want people to think about what is our personal sphere of autonomy," said Abramson, whose book, "Romance in the Ivory Tower," will be published this month. "My answer is that for consenting adults, this is clearly within the sphere of our personal autonomy," he said.
Should hospitals prevent doctors from being romantically involved with nurses?
Should law firms prohibit attorneys from dating law clerks and administrative assistants?
Sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct have no place in academia.
These kinds of unethical behaviors, which often involve powerful males and their female students or junior colleagues, traumatize the victims, impede equal opportunity in academia, and impoverish the intellectual landscape of our scholarly communities.