4.39 Consensual Relationships
To promote professionalism in the relationships that faculty and staff have with students by establishing limits on the nature of such relationships. To ensure that faculty and staff relationships with students are conducted in an atmosphere of free and open exchange of ideas and productive learning.
This policy applies to all faculty and staff.
Those who supervise or evaluate the work of students must be perceived to make their decisions fairly and without favoritism. The ability to maintain an uncompromised decision making process is jeopardized when faculty/staff enter into consensual romantic relationships with students. Therefore, faculty/staff shall not engage in consensual romantic relationships with their current students.
Faculty and staff are cautioned that consensual romantic relationships with their students can prove to be unwise and problematic, and shall be avoided. When consensual romantic relationships occur, questions of fairness, favoritism, and coercion may arise:
- Relationships in which one party is in a position to review the work, or influence the career of the other may provide grounds for complaint when that relationship appears
to give undue access or advantage, restricts opportunities, or creates a hostile and unacceptable environment for others.
- Such relationships may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision provided, and the particular trust inherent in the student-faculty relationship.
- Such relationships may, moreover, be less consensual than the individual whose position confers power believes. The relationship is likely to be perceived in different ways by each of the parties to it, especially in retrospect. While some relationships may begin and remain harmonious, they are susceptible to being characterized as unprofessional and disrespectful to others.
If a faculty member has a pre-existing consensual romantic/sexual relationship with a student, the faculty member shall ensure that the student is not enrolled in any course taught by the instructor.
If a staff member has a pre-existing consensual romantic/sexual relationship with a student, the staff member shall ensure that the student is not hired into work situations in which she/he would be supervised by the staff member.
Should a romantic/sexual relationship between a faculty/staff member and his/her student lead to a gender-based misconduct complaint, the college is obligated to investigate and resolve the charge in accordance with the complaint procedure in the Title IX Policy.
Faculty and staff who violate this policy are subject to discipline.
President, December 1, 2016
Executive Director, Human Resources