Update to Conflict-of-Interest Guideline for Faculty Members and Librarians (PDAD&C #7)
From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost
Date: September 15, 2023
Re: Update to Conflict-of-Interest Guideline for Faculty Members and Librarians (PDAD&C #7)
I am writing to provide you with notice of the revised Guideline for Faculty Members and Librarians Regarding Conflicts of Interest and Sexual, Intimate, or Familial Relationships. This updated guideline is the latest in a number of initiatives we have taken to foster a work and learning environment free from sexual harassment and sexual violence. It follows the recent review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, led by Professor Linda Johnston, Dean of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, and Dr. Allison Burgess, Acting Executive Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. The changes we have made reflect the feedback we received from students, faculty, librarians and staff during those extensive consultations (See Recommendation 10).
The revisions include new language acknowledging the impact of power dynamics on voluntary consent, and the revisions formalize and strengthen our existing practices by stating unequivocally that the University of Toronto prohibits sexual or intimate relationships between a faculty member or librarian and a student whom they supervise, grade the work of, mentor or have other decision-making power over such as admissions and awards. It also states that violations will result in discipline.
Other actions taken in recent months include:
- Updates to the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment;
- Signing onto the Association of American Universities (AAU) Principles on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Academia, designed to stop “pass the harasser” practices, and the related initiation of attestation and reference-checking measures;
- The release of a new policy and an updated Conflict of Interest guideline for administrative staff in July by the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture; and
- The introduction of a new online module to educate students about consent, setting healthy boundaries and the support services available for survivors of sexual violence by the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre this fall.
To help with the implementation of the revised guideline, the Office of the Vice-Provost Faculty & Academic Life is preparing an information sheet and will present on the updated guideline at the October 12, 2023, PDAD&C meeting. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Vice-Provost Faculty & Academic Life at VP.FAL@utoronto.ca.