NEWSLETTER, GRIEVANCES

Word of Caution about Alcohol

January 05, 2018 / Phil Lesch

PSU-AAUP has represented a number of members in investigations recently where they were respondents in complaints from coworkers and students about harassment and inappropriate behavior that occurred off campus. In many of the cases, alcohol was a significant factor in the incidents. 

The University has a policy about serving alcohol at University events on campus, and about being at work under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It does not, however, have a policy about the use of alcohol off campus. While is normal for members to socialize and for that socialization to include alcohol, when the drinking makes normal professional boundaries fuzzy, members have become too informal with coworkers or students and ended up facing complaints.

The relationships that AAUP members have with their co-workers and their students, and the University's responsibility for those relationships, are not restricted to campus. We see  complaints from off campus behavior in private residences, restaurants and bars, coffee shops and field trips. The University can and will hold members accountable for maintaining professional relationships regardless of location.

So we offer a word of caution: when taking work relationship off campus, we encourage members to please use alcohol conservatively, and to please maintain professional boundaries. 

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