University Senate votes to prohibit sexual relationships between students and their professors

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Thursday night the Western Kentucky University Senate passed a resolution that would prohibit faculty from having sexual relationships with their students.

The policy reads, “sexual relations between students and faculty members with whom they also have an academic, advisory, supervisory, or evaluative relationship are fraught with the potential for exploitation, and therefore are expressly prohibited.”

Previously, these types of relations were strongly discouraged.

Faculty who don’t have any academic connection with students they date would still be strongly discouraged from doing so. But this resolution, if approved, would not prohibit those relationships.

University Senate chairman Kirk Atkinson said a resolution like this was passed with the safety of students in mind.

“Could it become an uncomfortable environment for that student, or concern of maybe ending a relationship,” said Atkinson. “Is that going to affect my grade? That just shouldn’t happen. The student shouldn’t be in that situation. I completely agree with that policy change.”

The policy will not be made official until approved by university President Timothy Caboni. But Atkinson expects it to pass and go into effect before the start of the summer term.