This policy covers current and former close personal or intimate relationships, however brief, between members of staff and students where the staff member has any responsibility for the student. These include, but are not limited to: marital, sexual, romantic, or emotional relationships whether they are conducted in person or online. (Family relationships are covered under the Conflict of Interests Policy.)
For the purposes of this policy, a 'member of staff' should be understood as including but not limited to any individual who is working within the University under a formal contract of employment or as a casual paid worker (including graduate students working as teaching assistants), and any other individual (such as visiting academics) to whom the University offers any of the privileges or facilities normally available to its employees.
A student should be understood as any individual who is studying for an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification, or who is a student on any course arranged by or through the University or any part of the collegiate University.
The University regards the professional relationship between members of staff and students as central to the student's educational development and wellbeing. Professional relationships are any in which the staff member through his or her employment with the University has any educational, administrative, pastoral or supervisory involvement with a student. The University reminds staff of the importance of maintaining academic and professional integrity and of their responsibility for the welfare of students.
Implicit in the professional role of members of staff is an obligation to ensure that conflicts of interest do not arise, and that relationships with students for whom the staff member has any responsibility remain strictly professional, respecting the trust inherent in them.
While the University does not wish to regulate the private lives of its staff, it strongly advises staff not to enter into a close personal or intimate relationship with a student for whom they have any responsibility, and alerts them to the complications that may result.
To embark on a close personal or intimate relationship with a student often involves difficulties rooted in the inequalities of power as well as problems in maintaining the boundaries of professional and personal life. Also, these relationships could disrupt the teaching and learning environment for other students and colleagues and might lead to accusations of favouritism or bias and undermine trust in the academic process.