ERIC Number: ED306999
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Addressing the Issue of Appropriate Professional Ethics on Community College Campuses.
The issues of sexual harassment and appropriate sexual conduct have caused nationwide interest in ethics in academia. Questions of the appropriateness of sexual relationships between faculty and students, and between supervisors and employees, are both legal and ethical in nature. The Supreme Court has ruled that the most important factor in determining the merit of a sexual harassment case is whether the conduct was "welcome." However, the defense of consensuality is not viable when one partner in the relationship has power over the other. Supervisors, administrators, faculty, and/or staff may be liable in three possible situations: (1) a relationship that started out as "welcome" may become unwelcome; (2) the parents of a student involved in a sexual relationship with a faculty member may complain about the inappropriateness of the relationship; and (3) classmates of a student involved with an instructor may claim unequal treatment. The creation of an academic environment free of unethical conduct may be approached by formally adopting a code of ethics, and/or adding a statement about appropriate sexual relationships to existing sexual harassment policies. The University of Hawaii's community college system is in the process of doing both. Faculty senates on all six campuses have adopted the American Association of University Professors' Statement on Professional Ethics and are currently modifying their sexual harassment policy to indicate that sexual relationships between faculty/supervisors and students/employees, even by mutual consent, may be grounds for disciplinary action. Adopting a code of professional ethics does not guarantee ethical behavior, but it demonstrates that the college is committed to ensuring an ethical academic community. (JMC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A