In the recent years, University College London (UCL) became the UK’s third university, and the first in the Russell Group to ban personal and intimate relationships between students and lecturers who assess their work, provide lectures and provide pastoral support. UCL says this is to protect students from “potential abuse of power”, and address conflict of interests and confidentiality breaches.
The move follows Greenwich, which introduced a total ban in 2018, and Roehampton’s similar ban in 2013.
But why is the ban imposed?
It is believed that being into a relationship with a professor who evaluates your copy or those directly associated with your course, may end up into a violence relationship. Even if it doesn’t turn violent, it will definitely end up misusing the powers. The reason for this is the age gap, which is really much leading to sexual abuse and underestimating the concept of ‘consent.’
Fenton says policies should send “a really clear symbolic and loudly publicised message that such relationships are prohibited – so they are not normalised and therefore not condoned.” This would enable others to report them, and for policies to be properly enforced and sanctions applied.