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Consensual Relationships

Scope

  1. The following policy has been agreed by the recognised Trade Unions and applies to all academic staff in the University.

Policy

  1. The University sees the academic staff/student relationship as one that is based on trust and professionalism. Academic staff have a duty to ensure they maintain a professional relationship with students and do nothing that would compromise their education responsibilities.
  2. The professional relationship between lecturer and student becomes impaired when it is subject to an emotional or sexual relationship between them, due to a possible exploitation of the authority and trust that is inherent in the lecturer/student relationship. Furthermore, this type of relationship leaves the lecturer vulnerable to the accusation of academic favoritism and a subsequent loss of faith by students in the academic process.
  3. Staff should avoid relationships of this nature. However, in the event of such a relationship between an academic member of staff and a student, the following points of procedure must be observed:
    1. The Head of School or another appropriate person must be informed. Wherever possible, alternative arrangements should be made for tutorials or seminar groups.
    2. The lecturer involved should never be the sole internal assessor of any coursework or examination script.
    3. The lecturer should ensure that they make a declaration of interest at the time of the meeting with the assessment board, as contained within the University regulations. This may involve the lecturer leaving the room when the student is being discussed.
  4. Academic staff are required to follow this procedure, not only to ensure that all students are treated equitably, but also to safeguard themselves from possible allegations of sexual harassment, which can result from such relationships where the balance of power is so unequal.