Credit to AJ Duncan

Problematic professionals: numerous complaints about staff in personal relationships with students

By Luke Chafer and Jodie Leith

Following an FOI request, The Glasgow Guardian can reveal five formal complaints have been made against staff over the past five years.

Last month The Glasgow Guardian revealed that in the last five years there have been 10 formally declared relationships between staff and students. Following a review of the initial Freedom of Information request (FOI), The Glasgow Guardian understands that alongside the 10 declared relationships, there have been five official complaints made against members of staff who have had relationships with students. 

The finding comes as University UK released a set of measures for universities to confront staff-to-student sexual misconduct and create a “safe and inclusive environment for both students and staff”. The report urges universities to “strongly discourage” close personal relationships between staff and students. Currently, only University College London prohibits student-staff relationships, at the University of Glasgow student-staff relationships are allowed as long as they are formally declared. 

The call for further amendments to staff-student relationship policies follows increased controversies surrounding the dismissal of sexual harassment reports at British universities, highlighted by Al Jazeera’s two-year “Degrees of Abuse” investigation into the failures of several institutions in protecting students. In 2020, part of the investigation by Al Jazeera found that Dr Ian Shaw, a former geography lecturer at the University of Glasgow, had been accused of sexual misconduct by six women including colleagues and students. Four registered complaints were separately dismissed by Glasgow University, leading to further accusations of failing to protect students. Dr Ian Shaw denied all allegations.

The University of Glasgow have been contacted for a comment.


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