Universities in Australia ban sexual relationship between PhD students and supervisors

Universities in Australia ban sexual relationship between PhD students and supervisors

- Universities in Australia have banned intimate and romantic relations between PhD students and their supervisors

- An umbrella organisation of the country’s universities identified as Universities Australia have released a new series of guidelines to that effect

- The guidelines would require supervisors to replace themselves if their relationship with a student they are mentoring deviates from educational pursuit

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A new series of guidelines have been introduced to ban intimate and romantic relations between PhD students and their supervisors in Australian universities.

Daily Mail reports that Australian universities seek to promote respect through this series of guidelines, which would require PhD supervisors to replace themselves if their relationship with a student they are mentoring moves away from learning and research.

Briefly.co.za gathered that the guidelines were released by an umbrella organisation of the country’s universities identified as Universities Australia, on Wednesday, August 1, the first anniversary of the Respect Now Always campaign against intimate violence and harassment.

The chief executive of the organisation, Catriona Jackson, said: "We understand when you're a post-grad student doing a thesis there is a genuine power imbalance with your supervisor. It's just not appropriate to have a romantic or intimate relationship.

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"A student's academic progress must never depend on consenting to a intimaterelationship with their supervisor or a member of staff."

According to the guidelines, the unequal power dynamic can make students vulnerable to exploitation. The guidelines called on universities to take immediate action to investigate complaints.

According to Jackson, a lot of universities have been on the front foot on the issue and the policy was in response to that, rather than any one specific incident or concern.

The guidelines would require universities' policies for members of staff to stop supervising, teaching, or assessing students with whom they are in a relationship.

According to the guidelines, co-supervisory arrangements or a panel of supervisors working with each student could mitigate the risk when the prospect of finding another specialist in a highly specialised field is low.

Meanwhile, it was previously reported that the management of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, reportedly announced the sacking of Professor Richard Akindele for allegedly demanding intimate from Monica Osagie to upgrade her mark.

Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, the vice chancellor of the university, announced the sack at a press conference in Ife on Wednesday, June 20.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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