Personal relationships between staff and students procedure

Procedure

Intent and objectives

The purpose of this procedure is to ensure ethical and professional conduct by staff in their relationships with students, and provision of equal educational opportunity for students.

Scope

All staff and students.

Exclusions

Nil

Procedure steps and actions

Procedure

Responsibility

1. Staff who have or have had a personal relationship with a student where a conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest arises, are required to:

  • immediately advise their manager of the personal relationship
  • remove themselves from selection, supervision, assessment, appeal processes or any other professional issue concerning the student with the assistance of their manager/supervisor and ensure those duties are provided by other staff at no disadvantage to the student.

Staff member

Manager

2. Disclosure of a personal relationship may be initiated by a student. After confirmation by the staff member, steps under point 4 of this procedure are to be enacted.

Student

Staff member

3. If the staff member denies the relationship the matter will be managed in accordance with the Student complaints policy

Student

Academic Registrar’s Group

4. On receiving advice confirming a relationship between a staff member and student the manager is required to:

  • treat the information confidentially
  • ensure the staff member is removed or has removed themselves from selection, supervision, assessment, appeal processes or any other professional issue concerning the student
  • provide the student with alternative staffing arrangements at no disadvantage to the student
  • extend alternative arrangements to include lectures, seminars, laboratory, field work, etc. if requested by the student or the relevant Head of School or Pro Vice-Chancellor
  • write to the student and staff member advising of the steps to be implemented as part of this procedure

Manager

Failure to comply with this policy

5. If a personal relationship that constitutes a conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest is not disclosed by a staff member:

  • student processes, decisions or awards found to have been made in conflict with this policy may be reviewed in accordance with academic appeals processes
  • may constitute a ground of appeal or special consideration by the student concerned regarding assessment, selection etc

Staff member

Student

Academic Registrar’s Group

6. Where a staff member fails to comply with this policy, the appropriate manager will:

  • remove the staff member from professional relations with the student concerned and arrange for alternative staffing arrangements for the student
  • raise the issue with Human Resources as a failure to comply with this policy which may lead to the initiation of disciplinary procedures in accordance with the relevant workplace agreement

Manager

7. Any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature between staff and students will be considered a breach of RMIT’s Sexual harassment policy and could lead to the initiation of disciplinary procedures in accordance with the relevant Workplace Agreement. This holds regardless of whether the staff and student in question have a personal relationship or have been in a personal relationship.

Manager

Human Resources

Academic Registrar’s Group (when a complaint is made by a student)

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