Wits bans staff, student relationships

Wits says the policy will combat the problem of gender based offences and sexual harassment and guard against the potential for abuse of power by lecturers.

FILE: Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University has approved a policy that prohibits sexual and romantic relationships between staff members and students.

The university says the policy will combat the problem of gender based offences and sexual harassment and guard against the potential for abuse of power by lecturers.

The varsity says sometimes students feel they are unable to reject the sexual advances of lecturers.

Wits gender equity director Jackie Dugard says the policy is effective from Friday.

“On the basis of what many students have told us in state of trauma, that they don’t feel that they can navigate these relationships and they don’t feel they can say no.

"So we feel that they’re technically consensual, they are abuses of power and this policy now steps into the gap to prohibit those relationships.”

(Edited Zamangwane Shange)