Town halls to discuss policy on employee-student relationships

The UO emblem on Dads Gate

The University Senate Committee on Sexual and Gender-based Violence will hold two town hall meetings to discuss the draft of a new policy regarding relationships between students and faculty members, staff and other university professionals.

The town halls, called “Conflicts of Interest and Abuses of Power: Sexual, Physically Intimate, or Romantic Relationships with Students,” will be held Thursday, Nov. 8, from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 122, Lillis Hall and from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 125, McKenzie Hall.

Both sessions are open to faculty members and students.

The UO’s current policy regarding employees who have sexual, physically intimate or romantic relationships with students is temporary and will expire Jan. 30.

The Senate town halls are designed to foster a learning environment characterized by professional behavior and fair and impartial treatment. The topics discussed include consensual sexual, physically intimate, sexual or romantic relationships between any employee and student, where the employee has power or authority over the student.

It applies to all conflicts of interest created by consensual sexual, physically intimate or romantic relationships that involve an employee and a student even where the student may also be an employee.

Relationships covered by the current policy include: faculty and student; administrator and student; supervisory staff and student; coach and student; medical professional and student; professional advisor or counselor and student; and teaching assistant or graduate employee and student.

After the meetings, the committee will meet to discuss feedback from the town halls and then send recommendations to the Senate and President Michael Schill. Anyone from the UO community interested in this issue is encouraged to take an anonymous online survey created by the Senate.

And anyone who has concerns about such relationships is encouraged to contact UO’s human resources office at 541-346-3159. For more information about the UO policy, go to http://policies.uoregon.edu/conflicts-interest-and-abuses-power-sexual-or-romantic-relationships-students.