Romantic and Sexual Relationship Policies

Columbia University’s educational mission is promoted by the professionalism of its faculty-student relationships. This professionalism is reflected not only in the quality of the intellectual exchange between faculty and students but also in the nature of their interactions as members of a community of scholars. The academic freedom traditionally accorded to members of the faculty imposes a correlative obligation of responsible self-discipline, one that acknowledges the power they exercise over students and the importance of protecting against its abusive or exploitative use.


Romantic and sexual relationships between faculty and students pose a threat to academic professionalism as they compromise the faculty members’ judgment of students. More importantly, because of the power differential, romantic and sexual relationships between faculty and students are highly susceptible to being experienced as non-consensual or coercive.


The University adopted a policy prohibiting relationships between faculty and undergraduate students in 2018. Regarding graduate students, no faculty member may initiate or accept sexual or romantic advances or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with any graduate student (1) who is enrolled in any school, department or program in which the faculty member has an appointment, teaches, participates in research or is otherwise engaged as part of his or her University activities or (2) with whom he or she engages in any type of direct or indirect academic, professional, supervisory or advisory activities.


The full text of the University's romantic and sexual relationships policies are linked to below.