Santa Barbara Metropolis Faculty is trying to formally put a cease to relationships between college students and employees or lecturers.
A brand new coverage is underway that prohibits college or different staff from “engag[ing] or search[ing] to interact in a sexual relationship or sexual habits with a scholar enrolled within the school.” It additionally prohibits the “use of unlawful medicine within the presence of a scholar” and that they’ll’t “take part in, encourage or enable an underage scholar to drink alcohol,” amongst different related restrictions.
“There’s at present an teacher out on administrative go away as a result of he did medicine and slept with a scholar,” SBCC Tutorial Senate President Raeanne Napoleon stated at a senate assembly. “And I’m sorry if that’s surprising for individuals, however that’s the place that is coming from. Sadly we have to create insurance policies to inform individuals very apparent issues.”
The teacher Napoleon was referring to is Erin Burke O’Connor, an astronomy professor who, in a grievance filed in opposition to him within the Santa Barbara Superior Court docket in 2019, was initially charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor (the scholar) in addition to being in possession of nitrous oxide with the intent to ingest it for intoxication. The latter cost was dropped completely, and O’Connor pleaded no contest to the previous.
The faculty additionally obtained a third-party grievance in opposition to O’Connor for his relationship with the scholar, and he was subsequently placed on administrative go away.
“Final yr I had a quick relationship with an grownup scholar, who was previously in one in all my programs on the school,” O’Connor informed the Impartial. “A 3rd social gathering filed a grievance, and whereas the scholar confirmed in the course of the investigation that our relationship was consensual, I however remorse that call and have accepted penalties from the district for getting into into this relationship.”
The faculty’s Board of Trustees voted to approve a settlement between an worker and the school at its September 10 closed session assembly. Although the school officers can not affirm that the worker referenced was O’Connor, school sources confirmed the settlement was with O’Connor. The main points of the settlement should not instantly accessible, however different campus staff have confirmed he’s returning to show once more within the coming yr.
O’Connor’s state of affairs was not an remoted incident for the school. In line with Linda Esparza Dozer, the school’s Title IX and gender fairness coordinator, there have been eight complaints filed for inappropriate student-employee relationships previously two years. 4 of these complaints resulted in a proper investigation. Up till the transfer to replace the coverage, the school solely discouraged relationships between lecturers and college students.
Although universities have usually adopted robust insurance policies on student-teacher relationships, group faculties usually haven’t. UC Santa Barbara has a prolonged, 40-page coverage on sexual harassment, and it takes the place that each one sexual relationships between college and college students are fordbidden, reglardless of it being consentual, as a result of “any such relationship jeopardizes the integrity of the tutorial course of.”
“The coverage addresses necessary points and we’re going to be a pacesetter amongst group faculties with it,” stated Trustee Jonathan Abboud. “We want this to guard college students in uneven energy dynamics. I don’t assume it’s going to be a straightforward battle to approve it, however we are able to.”
Trustee Marsha Croninger drafted the coverage together with Abboud, nevertheless she doesn’t really feel it will likely be tough to realize approval on it.
The Board of Trustees gave the drafted model of the coverage to the Tutorial Senate to overview and provides suggestions on. Finally, it should come again to the trustees for ultimate approval.
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