Examples of Unacceptable Behaviours and Blurring of Boundaries

Disrespectful and Unacceptable Behaviour

Examples of disrespectful and unacceptable behaviour include, but are not limited to:

  • Aggressive or abusive behaviour, including rude language, (racialised) microaggressions [see note on microaggressions], personal insults or threatening to harm another person.
  • Unwelcome sexual advances – stalking, encroaching on personal space, asking for sexual favours/coercion.
  • Inappropriate remarks, comments, messages or jokes (made either in-person, electronically or via social media accounts) relating to an individual’s personal characteristics (protected or otherwise), and/or professional reputation, which are derogatory or detrimental in nature.
  • Intimate/inappropriate gestures (e.g. unsolicited gifts to an individual student).
  • Abusing authority to disadvantage or advantage a student/PGR or colleague (e.g., making decisions about assessment or performance not based on merit).
  • Violating standards of professional behaviour in research found to constitute research misconduct.
  • Accessing/sharing of pornographic or offensive material, as per, IT Services Code of Conduct.

Further information is available within the Dignity at Work and Study Policy and Research Integrity Guidance and Policies.

Note: A ‘microaggression’ is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalised group such as a member of a minority ethnic group.

Inappropriate Blurring of Boundaries

Examples of inappropriate blurring of boundaries in specific contexts include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical touching.
  • Any comments or questions of a sexual nature (whether verbally or electronically).
  • Sexual harassment of a student or colleague.
  • Paying undue special attention to a particular student, or more junior colleague that may amount to grooming-type behaviour or be perceived as such.
  • Inviting an individual student to a private home, room or space without others present, or visiting and entering their home or room alone, including while at conferences, overseas trips, or on placement.
  • Meeting a student (Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught or Research) alone, outside of the workplace, for purposes unrelated to work or study activity; context is particularly salient in such circumstances.
  • Asking a student to perform any personal services when not formally employed or engaged by the University to do so, for example, caring for a child, or to house sit whilst on holiday.
  • Unsolicited and/or unwanted contact of a personal nature with colleagues or students within non-working hours and contexts on personal mobile devices, email accounts or via social media.
  • Any behaviour deemed inappropriate under the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Policy (particularly, Appendix I), Dignity at Work and Study Policy, the Personal Relationships Policy, Safeguarding Policy, Grievance and Disciplinary Policies and the Code of Unacceptable Behaviour relating to colleagues and students.