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ASU revises policy on faculty-student relationships

February 18, 2015

Arizona State University Provost Robert E. Page Jr. has signed a revised and strengthened policy governing amorous relationships between members of the faculty and students.

Page’s approval puts the new policy into effect immediately.

The policy change, approved by the University Senate in January, prohibits amorous relationships between faculty members and students over whom they exercise, or can reasonably expect to exercise, authority or influence.

The policy change pushes the university forward in its responsibility to ensure fairness, objectivity and other ethical responsibilities expected within a community of scholars by recognizing and addressing the position of power that faculty members hold with respect to students.

The revised policy reflects ASU’s commitment to creating and maintaining an environment conducive to learning and to the academic success of its students.

“ASU faculty are among the best in the world,” said Mark Jacobs, dean of the Barrett Honors College, “and they are committed to ensuring that the only objective in working with students is to constantly make ASU a better place of learning for them.”

The revised policy is as follows:

Faculty and academic professionals are prohibited from engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student over whom that faculty member or academic professional exercises, or can reasonably expect to exercise, academic or employment authority or influence. Such authority or influence includes, but is not limited to, employment-related decisions such as hiring, evaluation or discipline, and academic-related decisions such as grading, transfers, evaluations, formal mentoring or advising, supervision of research, employment of a student as a research or teaching assistant, exercising substantial responsibility for honors or degrees, or considering academic disciplinary action involving the student.

Read the rest of the revised policy approved by the University Senate here.

“Faculty members are smart people who are going to have a variety of opinions and good arguments for their case when they disagree. However, they are in lockstep when it comes to the welfare of their students,” said Marlene Tromp, dean of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. “That is shown through this recent policy change."

Page said he recognized that the issue created challenging debate among the faculty.

“But the result they brought forward,” he said, “helps create a stronger university community.”