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Faculty approve policy on dating

Capping months of debate, the Academic Council Thursday approved a policy that would strongly discourage relationships between faculty and students.

Any supervisor-subordinate relationship at the University would be condemned under the policy.

Sponsored by the Office of Institutional Equity, the policy was debated at the council's past two meetings and several aspects have been changed since February, including the removal of sanctions from the policy, the movement of definitions to earlier in the document and the clarification of the consensual relationship definition.

At the meeting, council members subjected the document to further scrutiny. Robert Mosteller, Harry R. Chadwick senior professor of law, spearheaded many of the mostly minor changes, including the elimination of specific words and paragraphs to improve the clarity.

An effort to table the document until council members could read the updated policy failed. However, council chair and classical studies professor Peter Burian said he would e-mail the amended policy to all council members to allow for any further minor corrections to be made. Once the document is finalized, it will be included in the faculty handbook.

"This has been one of the major issues this council has worked on this year," Burian said.

The Council also backed a letter written to Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences William Chafe, Director of Athletics Joe Alleva and other administrators urging officials to hold any welcome-home event for the basketball teams on a weekend. Last year, the celebration for the men's national championship took place on a Tuesday afternoon, leading many students to skip class.

"It's important to stand up for the basic educational mission of the University," said Richard Hain, professor and chair of the mathematics department, who wrote the letter. Hain said 22 other department chairs have signed the letter.

"We do not need to welcome them the minute they get back into town," Hain said. Although the letter calls for the celebration to take place on a weekend, Hain conceded that an evening celebration would be more likely. The women's championship game is on a Sunday.

IN OTHER BUSINESS: The council elected John Staddon, James B. Duke professor of psychological and brain sciences, as its new secretary. He will serve a one-year term.

Paul Killenberg, a professor in the Medical Center, was re-elected as the faculty ombudsman. He will serve a two-year term.

Executive Vice President Tallman Trask gave a report on the status of 20 key capital projects that cost about $460 million. The highlights of the report included the new tower on Cameron Indoor Stadium, which besides carrying chilled water to the new air conditioning system, will include two new exit staircases and a large women's restroom.