Dating university lecturer

My university allowed a lecturer to date students – until it backfired They expected really good grades — and got them.

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Even with all the risks associated with dating a lecturer, students all over between university students and their professors for many reasons. A few months into my first lecturing job I was told that a male colleague – let's call him Matthew – was apparently keen on pursuing a female.

Those who did not — and that was most of us — could expect dismal module evaluations at the end of the semester. They made a formal complaint to the university. He was later fired. He disappeared, as though in a cloud of smoke, nowhere to be found — even on the departmental website.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Visiting lecturers were drafted in to cover for him, the rest of us added his administrative duties to our already overwhelming workload, and the department suffered. The sector needs to rethink its approach to regulating staff-student intimate relationships.

This is not only about making procedures for reporting sexual harassment at universities straightforward and transparent, although that would be a good start. I would argue that we should go further and prohibit intimate relationships between staff and students, which cross professional boundaries, create discord in the workplace and leave students exposed to abuses of power.

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Harvard officially bans sex between undergraduate students and teachers

In the film, Woody Allen plays his typical pervy-uncle trope, twice-divorced, in the midst of dating a year-old. Loading comments… Trouble loading? The survey, released in August, found that 10 per cent of postgraduate students who reported being sexually harassed said it involved their tutor or lecturer. Take a look at Guardian Jobs , the higher education specialist. The Medical Board of Australia prohibits doctors from having a sexual relationship with a patient, even when consent is provided.

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Or perhaps you need to recruit university staff? Take a look at Guardian Jobs , the higher education specialist. Such an imbalance may also give rise to an experience of coercion. One party may for example wish to 'date' and the other be reluctant but not say 'no' clearly at an early stage; or perhaps the 'no' is not immediately accepted; or perhaps the 'no' is apparently accepted but altered behaviour follows, for example, a perception of punishment in the form of undue academic criticism.

The latter may be labelled 'harassment' or 'sexual harassment' depending on the context. Where there is a perception that such pressures may be linked to possible academic favours, complaints can become very complex, time consuming, expensive and harrowing for everyone. This can be very damaging to a member of staff. For all these reasons staff should regard awareness of possible imbalances of power as not just about not abusing a position of trust or duty of care but about not permitting themselves to be put in a position where their behaviour could all too readily be construed as suspicious, thereby avoiding allegations however unjustified of inappropriate behaviour.

In this context it is not a defence for a member of staff to maintain that a student did not object to a particular behaviour, that the student gave or appeared to give permission, or indeed that the student initiated the activity. Academic staff who become Tutors have a great potential imbalance of power with tutees. There can be a one-way knowledge of personal information, the power to write employment references and the power to act with discretion for the student in certain circumstances.

The Tutor may be the person through whom complaints about such serious issues as sexual harassment by other members of the University may be channelled and may give advice and use counselling skills in a non-clinical way.

Students dating lecturers: Why, how, and what are the consequences?

In short, the Tutor represents the University to the student and the student to the University in such a way that mixing these representative activities with personal activities could compromise the good name of the University. The Tutor can come very close to the professional confidant type relationship engaged in by physicians, psychologists, counsellors and others which over the years has attracted compulsory codes of conduct.

Like those professionals it is clear that the 'duty of care' and the duty to act in a 'reasonable' manner implies that a Tutor, in being informed by such considerations, should never mix professional and personal relationships. Should any member of staff have the slightest doubt about an overlap of personal and professional interest this doubt should be declared to the Head of School in the first instance.

Should a Tutor have any suspicion that the behaviour of a tutee, or indeed their own behaviour however inadvertent, could compromise their role the Head of School should similarly be consulted. Should any member of staff become aware of behaviour by any other member of staff which arouses their concern that the duty of care referred to above may be compromised and the good name of the University with it, they have a duty to draw this to the attention of the relevant Head of School or to the Director of Student and Academic Services.

Should they prefer to approach the matter less formally in the first instance they can consider, as before, discussing the matter in complete confidence with a Human Resource Manager or a member of Counselling and Wellbeing.

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Given the potentially serious nature of the matter it is wise to follow the above procedure to guard against unwittingly being personally compromised or drawn in, even where it is decided subsequently to do no more than have a quiet word personally and directly with the colleague concerned. The advice above applies to all staff including temporary, honorary and volunteer staff. It also applies to postgraduate students acting as staff, whether paid or unpaid, when teaching.