The university is said to be reviewing its policy on relationships between staff and students in light of a romance between a Law Professor and one of his students.
Professor Istvan Pogany, a human rights expert at the school of law, started a relationship with a student, known simply as Eleanor, in 2007. Pogany, 57, even went on holiday to Cuba with the mature student “in her 30s”.
It is understood that the couple informed the University of their relationship, to which they were told not to flaunt the affair, or have a situation where Professor Pogany was marking the student’s papers.
The student fell pregnant in 2008, but eventually chose to go through with an abortion procedure, after which the remains were buried in Pogany’s garden in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The student was said to have suffered a breakdown after this, and moved off campus, although she is still attending lectures.
The relationship became the subject of two internet petitions, which have both since been shut down. One was in support of the lecturer, and hailed him as a brilliant academic.
The other, however called for the university to investigate Prof Pogany, saying that “He abused his position of power by dating an undergraduate student and getting her pregnant.”
The university chose to respond to mounting speculation with a statement, which said that it was “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.”
It made clear that the university takes its “ responsibilities to both our students and staff very seriously.”
The statement seemed to recognise the fact that Pogany had been honest with the university, and that the age gap was not dramatic, saying, “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 inquiries about that situation.”
However, a blog discussing ‘sexual politics in higher education’ argued that the “press report is not treating both parties as adults. They name the professor but the student is nameless.”