DMU New Staff-to-Student Relationships policy

DMU New Staff-to-Student Relationships policy

At DMU, the Empowering University strategy is committed to the wellbeing of students and staff by creating a safe, supportive and vibrant working and learning environment.

In response to this, we have launched a new Staff-to-Student Relationships policy for DMU employees, which we believe will help to create an environment in which all of our students and staff can feel physically and psychologically safe. The policy applies to all members of staff, including lecturers and all other DMU employees, such as administrative and support staff, and is relevant to all students.

As a result, we are now asking staff to let us know about any personal or intimate relationship they already have with a student.

In addition, DMU now prohibits all members of staff from entering into any new intimate (sexual or romantic) relationship with a student, where the relationship was not pre-existing (prior to June 2023).

What does this mean for you?

Declaration and management of staff-to-student relationships

  • All DMU employees now have a responsibility to disclose any pre-existing personal or intimate relationships they have with a student by completing the ‘Staff-to-student relationships disclosure form.’
  • If you currently have a personal or intimate relationship with a DMU employee, the employee should complete this form and ask you to sign it before submitting it in confidence to a central inbox tellus@dmu.ac.uk. No details about the nature of the relationship are required.
  • The information on this form will allow for an assessment to be undertaken of any perceived, potential, or actual conflict of interests that could exist as a result of the relationship.
  • Where necessary, arrangements will be made to ensure the employee does not have a direct or indirect professional, supervisory or pastoral responsibility for you. This includes issuing references. These arrangements will be recorded on the declaration form.
  • The Staff-to-Student relationships flowchart illustrates the declaration process from submission through to assessment, recording and retention.

The provision of this information to the university will in no way impact your academic treatment. The focus is on providing a safe and supported learning environment to enable you to thrive and excel in your studies.

You should expect professional interactions with all members of staff at DMU. This means they will never:

  • Engage in inappropriate or unprofessional conduct with you either virtually or in person – including conduct that is sexualised or may be perceived as sexualised.
  • Create an environment where the pursuit of an intimate relationship is normalised.
  • Ask you to undertake work for them privately like house sitting, dog walking or child minding.
  • Befriend you via personal social media accounts or communication platforms like WhatsApp.

In addition, meetings like seminars or PhD supervisions should normally take place on campus and ordinarily you should not be invited to a staff member’s home.

Staff will contact you via your university accounts and the sharing of personal contact details (such as a mobile phone number) should only happen if unavoidable, for example, on field trips. You can use LinkedIn to connect with staff as this is seen as a professional platform.

If you are ever concerned about a staff member’s behaviour towards you, please raise this with your personal tutor in the first instance or email tellus@dmu.ac.uk. This will help the university to provide support and take any appropriate action.

In addition, The Mandala Project and No Space for Hate are set up to respond to sexual violence and hate incidents respectively. Please rest assured that if you contact either of these services for support linked to issues relating to a staff member’s behaviour, this will be dealt with confidentially. Mandala and No Space for Hate offer confidential support and will only share information without your consent if you or someone else is at significant risk of harm.

If you have any queries, please contact tellus@dmu.ac.uk in the first instance. Please note there may be circumstances where, in order to comprehensively respond to your query, information will be shared with other colleagues from the relevant faculty and student services. This will be discussed with you in advance of it happening.