Tuesday, December 9, 2008

British university revewing professor student sex policies after nervous breakdown of 30-something student

A university is reviewing its policy on relationships between staff and students after an undergraduate had an abortion and a nervous breakdown following an affair with a lecturer.

By Alastair Jamieson Last Updated: 5:07PM GMT 07 Dec 2008

Warwick University is considering its stance in the wake of the romance between law professor Istvan Pogany, 57, and a mature student in her 30s.

The human rights expert began a relationship with the woman following the death of his wife.
The affair started in 2007 and the pair travelled abroad on holiday together. When the couple informed the university about their relationship, it advised the professor not to flaunt the affair or mark her papers.

The student fell pregnant in earlier this year and agonised over whether to have an abortion.
She is said to have cancelled a series of appointments before finally going through with a surgical termination and taking the remains home in a conical flask for a proper burial.

The burial is said to have taken place in the professor's back garden at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The affair led to an internet gossip campaign among students and staff and two website petitions, one praising Professor Pogany as a brilliant academic and another that accused him of abusing his position of power. Both online petitions have been removed.

The Hungarian-born lecturer, who teaches Human Rights and international law, is currently abroad on arranged study leave and is not due back to Warwick University until the beginning of January. When contacted for comment, he answered in Hungarian.
The student said: "I just want to put this behind me."

In a statement, Warwick University said: "The university is aware of a relationship between Professor Pogany and a student. We are aware that some institutions within the UK are moving towards the establishment of a code of conduct in respect of such matters and this is also presently under review at Warwick.

"We are mindful that the people involved are both adults and the university has to take this into account in the way it responds both to the situation itself, and also to enquiries about that situation.

"We take our responsibilities to both our students and staff very seriously.
"We are seeking to support and advise both the student and the member of staff. It is not possible to for us comment further without breaching the privacy of those individuals concerned."


Gregory Dainforth said...

From what the university have said it looks like they are supporting him which gives a clear message that professors can cause students to have breakdowns with no come back whatsover.

If as the article says she cancelled a series of appointments then it's eveident she didn't want to go through with it. The guy not only seems to be a complete waste of space, but immoral, unethical and lacking backbone by the looks of things. Also if as that article says he teaches human rights why dos he sanction abortion. He is a huge hypcrite.

Anonymous said...

While Warwick (in common with some 50% of UK universities) has no policy on this issue, that does not mean that individuals are free to act exactly as they please in this domain, for the union representing teacher in UK higher education (UCU) has adopted a code of conduct that stipulates that it is considered unprofessional to teach or assess the work of a student with whom an intimate personal involvement exists. This at once maintains a necessary boundary between professional and personal, protects students from the taint of favouritism and respects the right of individuals to the personal life of their choosing.

gregory dainforth said...

Did that last comment come from Warwick University? Sounds like a typical academic insitution response and if the person is anonymous then that is all the more likely.

Individuals should not be free to "the personal life of their choosing" where there is a marked inbalance of power. If you look at Warwick's press statment they do not mention the name of the student. Just the name of the professor. If this was an equal relationship. Why not name both? It looks like Warwick are simply trying to cover their backs!

Anonymous said...