Faculty dating graduate students

Nationally, colleges and universities have taken a variety of approaches to the issue, and the UC policy appears to strike a middle ground.Increasingly, institutions are trying to limit such relationships, although only a few -- notably the College of William and Mary in Virginia -- have banned all sexual liaisons between professors and undergraduates, as well as graduate students under their supervisors.“Student” includes all those enrolled in any and all educational and training programs of the University.“Supervision” means a context that involves instruction, evaluation, or supervision, direct or indirect, of a student’s academic work or participation in University programs, housing, activities, or employment.Spurred by a scandal that toppled UC Berkeley’s law school dean last year, University of California regents on Thursday approved a policy prohibiting professors and other faculty from having romantic or sexual relationships with their students.With the new policy, which takes effect immediately, the university joins a growing number of American higher educational institutions that have restricted such relationships, saying they may exploit students.“Just having this on the books will help change whatever behavior is problematic,” said Gayle Binion, a UC Santa Barbara political science professor who heads the university-wide Academic Senate.The integrity and professionalism of the teacher-student relationship is fundamental to the University’s educational mission.

A student or any other member of the community may lodge a complaint of sexual harassment with the Dean of Students or with the Executive Director of the Equal Opportunity Office (who also functions as the University’s Title IX Coordinator).

Binion, who helped draft the policy, said that while she believes most faculty members already recognize such standards of behavior, it was important for the university to take a clear stand. colleges -- has had no systemwide ban on faculty-student dating.

“The very integrity of the university’s academic mission is dependent on the accountability of the faculty member as a mentor, educator and evaluator,” she said. But six campuses, including Berkeley, have conflict-of-interest guidelines urging professors to recuse themselves from overseeing students with whom they are romantically involved.

This policy applies broadly to all “affiliates” who engage in “supervision” over “students” (all as defined below).

“Affiliates” includes, but is not limited to University faculty, graduate and professional students, postdoctoral fellows and associates, coaches and athletic trainers, resident assistants, residence hall directors, academic advisors, teaching assistants, graders, and University staff and volunteers who supervise students.

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