Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Second thoughts on due process at SIU

When the dankprofessor sees recommendations such as those put forth by the SIU Faculty Senate, a tendency may develop to initially screen out the bad. Such was the case on my prior posting on SIU. So after regaining my wits, I searched out the SIU policy on consensual relationships.  And it is bad and following are the key sections of the policy as well as my commentary.

Consensual amorous or sexual relationships between faculty and students or between a supervisor and an employee may result in claims of sexual harassment, even when both parties appear to have consented to the relationship. The power differential inherent in such relationships may compromise the subordinate’s free choice. When those in authority abuse or appear to abuse their power in a relationship, trust and respect in the University community are diminished. Moreover, others who believe they are treated/evaluated unfairly because of such a relationship may make claims of harassment.

Therefore, it is a violation of this policy if faculty members become involved in amorous or sexual relationships with students who are enrolled in their classes or subject to their supervision, even when both parties appear to have consented to the relationship. No faculty, staff, or graduate assistant shall become involved in an amorous relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student for whom that person currently has any teaching responsibility, including counseling and advising, coaching, supervision of independent studies, research, theses, and dissertations. In all cases in which an amorous or sexual relationship exists or develops, it is the obligation of the faculty member, staff member, or graduate assistant whose University position carries the presumption of greater power to disclose the relationship immediately to the appropriate supervisor who will contact the Office of the Provost for assistance in avoiding an appearance of impropriety and a potential conflict of interest.

Really the THEREFORE of the second paragraph is a non-sequitur since not all those in authority abuse or appear to abuse.  SIU dropped the third category- those in authority who do not abuse and do not appear to abuse. 

Then in the second paragraph, SIU appears to throw in the towel on appearances since the violations remain “even when both parties appear to have consented to the relationship.”   Well, I said appears, and it “appears” to the dankprofessor that SIU is muddled or confused when it comes down to appearances and consensual relationships.

And last but not least the policy mandates that the faculty member disclose the relationship to an SIU supervisor.  Or to put it in an unvarnished dank manner, the policy mandates the faculty member out the student lover, the student is not entitled to privacy.   If the SIU had minimal concern for student rights and privacy, student consent would be basic and elementary.  So much for due process and fairness at SIU.

The dankprofessor hopes that the FreeU blog will recognize how the SIU consensual relationships policy tramples on freedom and due process.

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November 26, 2008 - Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, fraternization, higher education, sex, sexual harassment, sexual policing, sexual politics, sexual rights, Southern Illinois University, student professor dating

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