Wits approves policy to regulate relationships between staff & students

The policy approved by the council contains important exemptions for serious relationships.

Wits University. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Wits University says its council has approved a policy which seeks to regulate sexual and romantic relationships between staff members undergraduate and honours students.

The university says the policy will combat a problem of gender based harm, sexual harassment and rape at its campuses and guard against the potential for abuse of power by lecturers.

The institution says in many situations students fear rejecting sexual advances from lecturers due to their esteemed positions.

Wits’ director for gender equity professor Jackie Dugard said, “The policy is about addressing a gap in the university’s policies. We have a policy on sexual harassment and rape.”

Dugard says the policy which took effect from yesterday, contains important exemptions for serious relationships as not all relationships are inherently problematic.

“If you are prepared to come to us and say you have a relationship and want to get married then that is a serious relationship and it’s not about an abuse of power.”