Relating to others

At Curtin, relating to others involves demonstrating respect. Respect includes accepting that people are different, with different ideas and opinions, and that they are as entitled to have their views heard as you are. Respecting others means acknowledging their views and refraining from actions which may insult, devalue or degrade them. Respecting yourself means appropriately expressing your own views and opinions, and refraining from unworthy conduct.

People from many cultures and backgrounds and of varying beliefs work and study at Curtin. It is important that you respect and value this diversity, recognising the dignity and rights of all, and learning from the rich range of experiences available to you during your time at Curtin.

How do I show respect for diversity?

What you say and how you say it is important to your listeners.

Respect diversity by being open to and valuing other points of view. Take care in expressing your own views to ensure your behaviour is considerate of others.

Embrace the diversity of cultures, backgrounds and beliefs at Curtin, as these provide a rich and unique environment in which globally relevant and ethical knowledge can be created.

What is a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest occurs when there is an actual, perceived or potential situation in which a student or staff member has a private or personal interest sufficient to influence, or appear to influence, the performance of their role in the University.

This is sometimes tricky to ascertain, so it’s always a good idea to discuss or raise the issue with one of your lecturers or the Head of School in the first instance. Advice and support can also be sought from the Integrity and Standards Unit.


Can I have a personal relationship with my lecturer, tutor or supervisor?

Studying at university can bring with it a number of challenges, some of which may require that you seek assistance from staff members. This assistance may be in relation to your units of study or other matters.

It is important that students and staff maintain appropriate professional relationships at all times. Relationships that move beyond the standard professional relationships likely to occur between staff and students in their daily business at the University amount to a conflict of interest.

Intimate relationships are problematic, as they compromise the integrity of the staff–student relationship and, in the long term, can lead to allegations of bias. Curtin does not encourage or support sexual relationships between staff and students.

As a student you have the right to study in an environment that is professional, appropriate and conducive to effective learning. You should not feel pressured into situations you are uncomfortable with. Should you consider that a staff member’s behaviour does not reach these standards, you are encouraged to report your concerns at the earliest possible opportunity to the Integrity and Standards Unit. A Guild Student Assist Officer can help and support you with this.

Equally, you should ensure you do not behave in a way that could be seen to influence a staff member to give you preferential treatment.

You Should:

You Should Not:

Case Study

Staff–student relationships

Jane and her thesis supervisor commence a sexual relationship after two years of a professional relationship. She and her supervisor attempt to keep this aspect of their relationship hidden from other students and staff. However, rumours begin to circulate when Jane is selected to work on a research project that is not related to her area of study.


The thesis supervisor should have disclosed that a sexual relationship had developed between themself and a student they supervise. This would have enabled the University to ensure that Jane received appropriate supervision from an alternative staff member. Staff are expected to maintain an appropriate professional relationship with students for whom they are responsible.



Information in this publication is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

This material does not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.

Curtin accepts no responsibility for and makes no representations, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability in any respect of any material in this publication. Except to the extent mandated otherwise by legislation, Curtin University does not accept responsibility for the consequences of any reliance which may be placed on this material by any person.

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Student academic or general misconduct is dealt with in accordance with the Curtin University Act 1966, Statute 10 – Student Discipline, the responsible officer for which is the Academic Registrar. Students are expected to inform themselves of and comply with all relevant laws; University statutes, rules and by-laws; and the University’s values and signature behaviours, policies and procedures.

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