Navigation

Personal relationships policy

Article

1. Policy statement

1.1 Goldsmiths intends to create and maintain a safe, supportive and inclusive environment in which staff and students can achieve their potential whilst working and learning. It is recognised that the development of mutually rewarding relationships between members of its community contributes to the dynamic and vibrant environment at Goldsmiths. 

1.2 Where a personal relationship overlaps with a working relationship, this may give rise to an actual or perceived conflict of interest which compromises the integrity of the parties and undermines the good running and reputation of Goldsmiths. 

2. Purpose of the Policy

2.1 This policy seeks to ensure the welfare of all staff and students. It aims to protect the integrity of all students and staff from allegations of actual or perceived conflicts of interest as well as avoid complaints of harassment and grievance or disciplinary action. This is particularly significant where there is an imbalance of power.

3. Scope

3.1 This policy applies to all personal relationships, including:

• A family relationship

• A business / commercial / financial relationship

• A sexual / romantic relationship (both current and former) 

For the avoidance of doubt, this is not an exhaustive list. 

3.2 This policy applies to all staff and students of Goldsmiths.

3.3 This policy covers all areas where such relationships raise questions about conflict of interest, trust and/or confidentiality which may occur at the outset, during or on the termination of a relationship. Such conflicts may arise in relation to the following areas.

• management and supervision of staff including career progression and staff development

• deployment of financial and other resource

• all aspects of teaching and learning

• access to confidential information

• access to Student Services including financial assistance, accommodation and other services

• contractual matters including employment, career opportunities, placements, complaints and discipline

• assignment of work and facilities to students.

4. Relationships between staff and students

4.1 Goldsmiths expects staff to maintain the highest professional standards at all times. Staff must not compromise their professional and ethical responsibility to protect the interests of students. 

4.2 Intimate relationships between staff and students are strongly discouraged.  Goldsmiths considers that such relationships are likely to give rise to a conflict of interest and may be asymmetric, unprofessional and an abuse of authority.

4.3 Staff should not enter into a business, commercial or financial relationship with a student which could compromise, or could be perceived to compromise, the objectivity and the professional standing of a teaching relationship.

4.4 Where there is a pre-existing personal relationship when either a member of staff or a student enters Goldsmiths or one develops following a student’s enrolment, the member of staff is required to declare the interest to the Head of Department and the Pro-Warden for the relevant School so that appropriate action may be considered as described in section 7.

5 Relationships between postgraduate and undergraduate students

5.1 Where a postgraduate student has a pastoral relationship with an undergraduate student or is responsible for supervising that undergraduate student Goldsmiths expects the former to maintain the highest standards at all times, in accordance with section 6 below. 

5.2 Intimate relationships between these students are strongly discouraged.  Goldsmiths considers that such relationships are likely to give rise to a conflict of interest and may be asymmetric, unprofessional and an abuse of authority.

5.3 Where there is a pre-existing personal relationship or one develops following a student’s enrolment, the postgraduate student is required to declare the interest to the Head of Department and the Pro-Warden for the relevant School.

6 Relationships between staff

6.1 Personal relationships between members of staff normally pose no conflict of interests. Whilst most social and personal relationships promote good working and academic relationships, there are occasion where a personal relationship may result in an actual or perceived conflict of interest. 

6.2 Where a personal relationship gives rise to a reasonable apprehension that a conflict may exist, members of staff are required to declare this to the Head of Department or the Pro-Warden for the relevant School. 

7 Practice

7.1 When Goldsmiths is made aware of a personal relationship to which this policy applies, it will consider appropriate action which will serve to protect the integrity and welfare of all involved.  This will be dealt with in confidence and Goldsmiths will ensure that these matters are dealt with as sensitively as possible.

7.2 Efforts to mitigate any conflict may include:

• Ensuring that the member of staff does not have sole responsibility for aspects of the students work, especially where it is subject to assessment.

• Ensuring the member of staff is not the sole decision maker in respect to decisions which have a potential effect on the student such as grants.

• Ensuring that the relationship has no adverse impact on other students and staff

• Ensuring that a member of staff is not able to make decisions affecting the other person’s employment. Examples of this may include workload allocation, promotion, and career development.

7.5 Where the conflict of interest may not be adequately mitigated, Goldsmiths may seek to accommodate one individual elsewhere in the organisation.

7.6 To protect the interests of all parties, a record of the declaration and action taken, if any, may be made. Declarations received will be considered without prejudice to either party.

7.7 Failure on the part of a member of staff or a postgraduate student in a pastoral and/or supervisory role to make a declaration may result in disciplinary action being taken.   

7.8 Staff who are uncertain about what action to take should seek guidance, in confidence, from their HR consultant.

8 Harassment

8.1 Goldsmiths does not tolerate any form of harassment or bullying of any member of the campus community.  The Dignity at Work policy on harassment and bullying can be found on Goldmine.