The University of Oxford has announced the implementation of a new policy regarding staff-student relationships, to take effect from 17th April 2023.
The policy, set to govern intimate or close personal relationships between staff and students, prohibits staff who have any responsibility for current students from entering intimate relationships. Furthermore, it “strongly discourages” any other close personal relationships which “transgress the boundaries of professional conduct.”
Failure to comply with the new policy will result in staff being disciplined in accordance with the University’s disciplinary procedures. With regards to existing intimate relationships, the University said: “Any appropriate protective steps taken in relation to existing relationships (reported after the policy came into force) will focus on avoiding conflicts of interest by ensuring the staff member ceases to have, or does not acquire, any responsibility for the student.”
The change in policy comes after many months of development and consultation. It overrules the previous policy, where intimate relationships were strongly discouraged (and required declaration to a line manager), rather than prohibited.