Notts Trent staff member disciplined for having a relationship with a student
The member of staff who was caught walked away with a written warning
A Notts Trent staff member has been disciplined for having a relationship with a student.
Since the uni’s Staff and Student Personal Relationships Policy came into play in 2018, two relationships have been disclosed, The Nottingham Tab has learned.
Of these two, disciplinary action was only taken once and this was in the form of a written warning.
The policy states that: “Failure to disclose a Personal Relationship between a member of staff and a student and/or failure to comply with action deemed by the Relevant Authority as appropriate to deal with such a situation may result in disciplinary action being taken against the member of staff concerned.”
The move has been welcomed by The 1752 Group, who lobby to prevent student-staff misconduct. They told The Nottingham Tab: “It is positive to see that Nottingham Trent University have recognised this issue…and are also applying disciplinary sanctions where this policy is breached.
“Abuses of power within teaching and learning relationships in higher education can be enormously damaging to students.”
UCL banned staff-student intimate relationships in February this year, which campaigners said was “a wake up call” for other universities across the country. Campaigners also said that they hoped that other universities would adopt a similar policy.
A spokesperson for Nottingham Trent University told The Nottingham Tab: “Any NTU employee must not enter into a personal relationship with a student. This is because such a relationship could compromise, or be perceived to compromise, the requirement for trust and confidence and professionalism which underpins the learning experience for students.
“If there is such a relationship, that member of staff should remove himself or herself from any professional responsibilities towards that student. Any employee who fails to declare such a relationship faces disciplinary action.”
Anna Bull, the director of research at The 1752 Group, a UK-based organisation dedicated to ending staff sexual misconduct in higher education, told us: “Since the #MeToo movement the world has become increasingly aware of the difficulties of giving consent across a relationship of unequal power. Where there is a professional learning and teaching relationship, staff are in a position of responsibility and trust towards students and this position needs to be taken seriously and clear professional boundaries implemented.
“It is positive to see that Nottingham Trent University have recognised this issue in their Student and Staff personal relationships policy, and are also applying disciplinary sanctions where this policy is breached. We hope that alongside taking disciplinary action, the University are also supporting any students who have been affected by this situation, and are taking steps to ensure that staff and students are aware of what appropriate professional boundaries look like.
“Abuses of power within teaching and learning relationships in higher education can be enormously damaging to students either at the time, or later down the line if a consensual relationship breaks up, and therefore universities need to ensure that such students are fully supported when such abuses take place.”