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Policy for staff and students

Pembroke College has adopted the University’s Policy concerning personal relationships between staff and students. Guidance on detailed interpretation of this Policy is available at that website.

The following Policy is intended to align closely with the University Policy with only minor changes to reflect the College context. It must be emphasised that this Policy complements the University Policy and does not replace it.

1.         A personal relationship of a sexual or other intimate nature between a member of staff and a student, with whom that member of staff also has a professional connection, gives rise to an actual or apparent conflict of interest. In particular, such a relationship creates, or may reasonably be perceived to create, a risk of favouritism or abuse of authority. It also undermines the relationship of trust and confidence which is intrinsic to interactions between staff and students.

2.         Members of staff are under a duty to act with integrity and not to place themselves in a position of actual or apparent conflict. A personal relationship in the circumstances described above should consequently be avoided.

3.         In the event that:

3.1       A personal relationship arises between a member of staff and a student with whom that member of staff also has a professional connection; or

3.2       There is or has been a personal relationship between a member of staff and a student with whom that member of staff is due to have a professional connection;  or

3.3       If family members of a member of staff become students in his or her College;

The member of staff in question must disclose the relationship immediately to the Senior Tutor or to the member of staff’s Head of Department (or equivalent post-holder) or (if the member of staff would prefer) to the Head of HR Department who will speak to the Senior Tutor and Head of Department (or equivalent post holder) on their behalf.  If a member of staff is unsure whether or not a relationship with a student should be disclosed under this policy, the member of staff should disclose it. Typically, academic members of College are expected to report to the Senior Tutor while non-academic members of College would report to their Head of Department or Head of HR in the first instance.

4.         Following disclosure, the person to whom the disclosure has been made will ensure as appropriate that the student is aware of the disclosure and that alternative arrangements are put in place to avoid the member of staff having any professional connection with the student. If the relationship involves a student at a different College then the relevant Senior Tutor will be informed and asked to communicate with the student.

5.         Failure to comply with this policy, or any arrangements which are put in place under it, may be treated as a disciplinary matter.

6.         For the purposes of this policy:

6.1       ‘Member of staff’ includes any person who is engaged by the College as a Fellow, employee or worker and/or who holds a College office or post, as well as any person to whom the College makes available any of the privileges or facilities normally afforded to its employees - where graduate students are working for the College in a teaching or related capacity, this policy will apply to them in that capacity as if they were employees of the College;

6.2       ‘Student’ includes any person pursuing, or applying to pursue, a course of study leading to the award of a degree, diploma, or certificate of the University or one of the College’s international programmes.

6.3       ‘Professional connection’ means any arrangement where a person in his or her capacity as a member of staff has any academic, pastoral or administrative or similar responsibility for a student, including for supervising, tutoring, teaching, selecting, assessing, protecting, safeguarding, or providing a reference for, the student. Connections which involve access to personal information, or other position of trust, are included.

6.4       ‘Personal relationship’ means any association, however brief, of a sexual or other intimate nature, either in person or remotely (for example, via social media, email or text messaging).

6.5       ‘Family members’ means, for the purpose of this policy, spouse or partner (including same sex partners and civil partners), former spouse or partner, parent, parent in law, grandparents, brother or sister (including in laws), son or daughter (including in laws), grandchildren, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, step family members. The definition also extends to close friends – although they are not relatives the nature of these relationships may result in nepotism, favouritism or unfair practice being implied or alleged. The list is not exhaustive and it is the responsibility of members of staff to take any necessary action on the basis of common sense and reasonableness.