In the fierce debate about campus sexual assault, Harvard University’s policy has come under particular scrutiny, assailed by some professors as a product of political correctness that stacks the deck against the accused. But a range of specialists who help colleges handle misconduct allegations say Harvard’s policy is decidedly mainstream.
By not including sexual-consent guidelines adopted by a growing number of schools, Harvard has taken a more conservative approach than many of its peers, they say.
In recent years, many colleges have adopted an “affirmative consent” standard, which states that sex is considered consensual only if both partners explicitly communicate their willingness to engage in sexual activity.
Harvard’s policy, meanwhile, simply forbids “unwelcome conduct,” which it defines as “unrequested or uninvited” behavior — but does not require explicit consent.