Employment news

Campaign group seeks HE ban on staff-student relationships

The 1752 Group that campaigns in Higher Education to end staff sexual misconduct has called for more universities to introduce a ban on staff-student relationships after the Office for Students stopped short of requiring such a policy.

Although such a ban exists in a small number of Universities the OfS chose a different model when it outlined how it intends to regulate universities on harassment and sexual misconduct. This would see staff required to declare all such relationships, with institutions keeping a record of these in a register.

Anna Bull, the director of research for 1752, said this does not go far enough, saying that their research shows that students are often unable to get effective action taken when sexual misconduct arising from intimate staff-student relationships occurs.

“Prohibiting staff from entering into intimate personal relationships with students over whom they have current or future teaching or pastoral responsibilities will mean that students can more easily raise concerns about unwelcome or unwarranted sexual or romantic approaches, as this behaviour will clearly constitute misconduct.”

The group feels that a register would be ineffective as Universities do not have the expertise or systems to manage it.