These guidelines cover all members of our community, including students of any level, faculty, staff, and third parties or visitors participating in any instructional activities or roles. For purposes of these guidelines, all these persons and any others who may be participating in any instructional activities or roles are collectively referred to as “Instructors.” These guidelines apply in any instructional settings and any performance settings individually as well as those that are part of a larger education experience.
Singing, playing an instrument, and dancing are inherently physical activities. Historically, some amount of physical contact has been a part of music and dance instruction; however, the Jacobs School of Music recognizes that physical contact has the potential to be misinterpreted, inappropriate, and/or unwanted. Therefore, we have established the following guidelines to ensure a safe and respectful learning environment for all students and Instructors, while still allowing for effective teaching techniques and practices. We are committed to ensuring that Instructors understand and follow this policy for the wellbeing of our students.
Asking Permission for Physical Contact
If the Instructor determines that it would be helpful to engage in physical contact with a student for pedagogical reasons, specific steps shall be followed to foster a safe and respectful environment and maintain appropriate Instructor/student interactions. Instructors must be sensitive to the power dynamics between Instructors and students and respect any student’s right to withhold permission. Permission must be given whenever an Instructor wishes to use physical contact to enhance instruction. Permission given for one type of contact or action by the Instructor does not apply to subsequent or different types of contact. It is important to remember that a student can refuse permission or change their mind even if permission was previously given. Instructors shall use the following process for each instance the Instructor wishes to use physical contact to enhance instruction:
- Establish context and provide an explanation surrounding the need for physical contact. Both Instructor and student must be aware of and have a clear understanding of how the touch meets the pedagogical needs of the instruction at hand.
- Request permission for the physical contact described.
- Monitor and check-in that the student is still giving permission for the contact if it continues and ask permission for subsequent or different types of contact. Permission can be withdrawn at any time in the student’s discretion.
Students always have the right to decline to participate in pedagogical practices involving physical contact that their Instructors might recommend. If a student chooses not to participate in an instructional activity that involves physical contact, they can be assured that this decision will not adversely affect their grade or performance opportunities at Indiana University. Students will not be retaliated against for raising questions or expressing concerns about pedagogical practices involving physical contact with Instructors.
If students have questions or concerns about physical contact, they should inform their Instructors immediately. Alternatively, students always have the option of raising such concerns directly with the JSoM Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Success. If a concern arises, students are encouraged to take one or more of the following steps:
- Let the Instructor know that they are uncomfortable and ask the Instructor to
discontinue the physical contact.
- If it is difficult to verbalize this in the moment, write the Instructor an email or note that addresses such concerns.
- If students would feel more comfortable not being alone with an Instructor during a lesson, they may arrange to have another person present in the studio during the lesson, such as a collaborative pianist or friend, and the Instructor shall accommodate and not object to this arrangement.
- If students feel uneasy or need assistance or clarification, they should speak to their department chair or the JSoM Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Success.
If students or any IU community members are concerned that there are actions that constitute discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct; or a prohibited amorous or sexual relationship between a student and Instructor, they should contact the Office of Institutional Equity at email@example.com.
Please note that physical contact with the permission of the student may be part of pedagogical activities in this course. However, where students grant permission for physical contact, any physical contact between the instructor and students will be conducted in a professional manner and in accordance with Indiana University policies and Jacobs School of Music Guidelines. Instructors are prohibited from touching students without permission. Instructors are prohibited from touching students in any way that is sexual or inappropriate in nature, or that constitutes sexual misconduct. Instructors are prohibited from having an amorous or sexual relationship with their students. Students have the right to refuse physical contact, to request that it be conducted in a certain way, and to withdraw permission for physical contact if permission had previously been given. Any questions or concerns related to physical contact in the course should be reported to the department chair, or the JSoM Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Success. Any concerns about sexual misconduct or discrimination and harassment should be reported to the Indiana University Office of Institutional Equity.