The affair between an academic and a student that was "ill advised"

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The Independent Online
JEAN NORRIS'S husband, a social sciences lecturer at Southampton Institute, had relationships with more than one student. In 1992, he was formally disciplined by his managers under the institute's regulations, for having an affair. His wife, who now lives in Sheffield, has named a second student in her divorce action against him.

The couple are undergoing acrimonious divorce proceedings. But it is understood that the institute sought legal advice about whether his behaviour could be grounds for dismissal. It was told that it could not.

"This is a serious matter, and we have rules about senior staff being told what is going on and lecturers not being allowed to supervise a student if they're having a [sexual] relationship with them," said Roger Brown, the principal of Southampton Institute. "All that was done in this particular case."

Mr Paul Norris told The Independent that he did not begin his latest relationship with a student until June last year, which was two months after he had left his wife. This relationship was not with a school leaver but with a mature woman over the age of 21, he explained.

"All the procedures at the college were followed. The dean was informed. I had nothing to do with the student's work. All her course work and examination papers went to the external examiners."

He acknowledged, however, that he had previously been disciplined for an earlier relationship with a student, when he was told that the relationship was "ill-advised". A record of that incident remained on his file for 12 months, after which it was removed.

Marriages end in every sphere of life, said Mr Norris. He suggested that a support group could be set up for the wives of company directors who had left them for their secretaries.

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