This semester, the university introduced a new policy surrounding the disclosure of relationships between staff and students, aiming to minimise risks and protecting the wellbeing of all at the university. Whilst not banning such relationships, the policy requires staff to disclose such relationships to their Heads of School, with the aim of protecting both parties.
Vice Principal (People and Culture) at the University of Edinburgh, Jane Norman, wrote to students: “We understand that close and often long-lasting relationships can, and do, form between students and staff members.
“The university does not wish to interfere in the personal lives of its students or staff, nor does it seek to prohibit intimate relationships between consenting adults.
“However, we also recognise that there are risks when one party is in a position of trust and authority relative to the other.”
Protecting both ends – students and staff – is at the core of the new policy’s scope and purpose.
Conflicts of interest, misuse of power and exploited consent, are among the several measures that both parties are to be protected from with the implementation of the new policy.
The policy reads that the university “strongly discourages relationships of an intimate nature between staff and students,” requiring “those to whom a disclusore is made to take appropriate action to protect the integrity and welfare of both parties adn the interests of other students and staff.”
Furthermore, the university is to “treat a failure to disclose by a staff member as a disciplinary matter, up to and including dismissal.”
The Students’ Association, the Advice Place and joint unions have worked closely in developing the policy.
Image: Rosie Duckworth