LSE has a Policy and Procedure on Personal Relationships. We in the department have agreed to interpret this as follows (taking into account that we are a small department, and so all permanent members are required to fulfil major administrative roles which can create a significant power differential):
- Sexual or romantic relations are always prohibited between a permanent member of faculty and a student who is enrolled in the department. – regardless of whether the member of faculty is involved in teaching the student.
- For non-permanent faculty, who are not standardly expected to take on major administrative roles, we take the policy to prohibit any sexual or romantic relations where the member of staff is involved in teaching, assessing, supervising, or acting as academic mentor to the student. Furthermore, this prohibition can hold both for a period before and after these roles have ceased: specifically, for as long as the member of staff could be involved in either admissions or mentoring or writing letters of reference for the student. Where a member of non-permanent faculty does take on a major administrative role, then it is prohibited for that member of staff and any student in the department to form a sexual or romantic relationship.
- Our GTAs are not expected to take on major administrative roles, nor to act as supervisor or academic mentor to students, nor to be involved in admissions or mentoring or writing letters of reference for students. Thus, for GTAs, we take the policy simply to prohibit any sexual or romantic relationship where the GTA is involved in teaching or assessing the student. Thus, should such a relationship develop, the GTA should:
- inform a senior member of the department – where possible, the Head of Department – immediately;
- withdraw from all small-group teaching involving that student;
- withdraw from supervising the student, writing letters of recommendation for them, and making any decisions (e.g., distribution of funding) where preferential treatment of the student could in principle occur;
- withdraw from the assessment of that student, even if anonymous marking is used.