Chats Login to shop for Deals and books or sexual harassment research paper chat. Member Login Login to your member account to read premium articles. URBANA — The University of Illinois is assembling a group of committees to tackle complex issues surrounding sexual harassment on campus, from potential new sanctions to rules about consensual relationships between professors and students.
Some are already meeting, some will be appointed down the road, and a key group that will review campus policies and sanctions for sexual misconduct should be up and running by the end of the month, said William Bernhard, vice provost for academic affairs. The provost’s office will coordinate the committees, which will enlist members from a wide swath of campus, including faculty, students, employees and campus senators, he said. The panel that will review campus policies and sanctions was spurred by discontent over the relatively mild punishment imposed on UI Law Professor Jay Kesan, who was accused of harassment by several colleagues and students. He later agreed to take an unpaid leave of absence. That committee will have heavy representation from the Academic Senate, Bernhard said, as it could involve due process and changing policies and procedures that require senate approval. The campus has already created a committee to study UI policies on consensual relationships, which was in the works before the law school case became public in the fall, Bernhard said.
Currently, the Student Code and Campus Administrative Manual generally prohibit relationships between faculty members and students they supervise, Bernhard said. If you’re a student in my class, we can’t be dating,” he said. But the policies are narrower and less detailed than those adopted by many of the UI’s peers, according to a report by law Professor Jamelle Sharpe, who is chairing the committee. They’re based on nepotism and conflict-of-interest concerns rather than the uneven “power dynamic” between students and faculty, it said, and they don’t specify any consequences. The committee will examine what changes might be needed and the broader question of whether faculty-student relationships, particularly with undergraduates, are so “inherently unbalanced” that the campus should steer away from them, Bernhard said.