Thursday, May 24, 2012

POLICY ON STUDENT/TEACHER SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS

There have been reports about inappropriate sexual conduct between staff and students at CIT.  Questions must be asked of the policies that CIT have in place for such occasions.

Of course people will meet and be attracted to each other anywhere and that this happens at educational institutions all over the country is no surprise. Most universities have policies of 'full disclosure' in this situation. The teacher and the student are required to disclose that they have a mutual attraction and intend to act on it. The institute then moves one of them to avoid conflicts of interest designed to protect them both.

Ethical and sometimes legal considerations arise when the relationship is not declared and the teacher continues in the role of teacher. The obvious danger for the teacher is the student changing his or her mind about the relationship in the future and declaring it as improper or coerced.  If the teacher has not declared it as a relationship, then questions need to be asked of the motives of the teacher particularly when the teacher has a string of such 'relationships', particularly when they are with very young students.
 
It is important to note that even in cases where this conduct involves consenting adults and is not criminal, it is still generally going to be highly unethical in the educational setting and therefore unlawful in view of the Public Sector Management Act's Code of Ethics which governs all ACT public servants, including all CIT staff.

Of most concern to CIT staff and students who have spoken to me about this is the answer they have been given by the officer in the department at CIT mentioned in McCabe's report. This person retorted along the lines of  ... staff are welcome to have relationships with students at CIT! Clearly this person is badly lacking in judgement and concern for the safely of staff and students alike as noted in the Work Safe Report. 

 If you are a student or staff member who has experienced these things or been 'let go' when you 'told' or even dared ask questions about the behaviour of some, now is the time to write to the government commissioner Andrew Kefford: andrew.kefford@act.gov.au


To date there is apparently no policy of full disclosure at CIT. At a minimum, this needs to be addressed immediately.  It is likely that past events of non disclosures will soon open a can of troublesome worms for those without ethics at CIT.

1 comment:

  1. Strong points Lorese.

    Can CIT afford not to be seen as an ethical organisation? especially as that reflects on its professional standing not only in the community in general but in the community of its professional peers?

    It may try to massage the climate in view of the McCabe Report, but without getting the ethical climate of the place working properly it does nothing to change the ethos of CIT. How can staff or students feel safe and confident in a place with rubbery ethical standards??? ... nepotism, cronyism, bullying, and sexual exploitation thrive in such rubbery ethical workplaces, and CIT clearly needs to steer well clear of that.

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