Related Policies and Additional References:
The University prohibits sexual or dating relationships where there is an institutional power difference between the parties involved, for example, between a supervisor and an employee, or between a faculty and a student, a coach and an athlete, or an academic advisor and an advisee. Relationships with this power disparity may cast doubt on the objectivity of the supervision and evaluation provided, and may result in claims of sexual harassment and questions about the voluntariness of the relationship. Employees of the University who engage in a relationship prohibited by this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or, in the case of faculty, dismissal for cause.
In addition to the prohibition stated above, the University strongly discourages romantic, intimate, or sexual relationships between a student and faculty, student and staff, or student and University administrator, regardless of whether one party has institutional responsibility for or authority over the other. Individuals who enter into relationships where a professional power differential exists must realize that if a charge of sexual harassment is lodged, it will be exceedingly difficult to prove mutual consent. Romantic relationships often are perceived differently by each party—especially in retrospect. One party may recall the relationship being less consensual than the individual whose position confers power or authority. Thus, parties involved in these types of relationships assume all associated risks, and the University will hold both parties accountable regardless of blame or fault if such a relationship causes a problem for the University.
All employees engaged in a relationship that is discouraged by this policy are required to notify the Director of Human Resources in writing of such relationship. At the discretion of the University, one or both parties to the relationship may be subject to transfer or termination of employment. If transfer or termination is appropriate, the parties involved will be given the opportunity to determine which party will be subject to the change in employment status, to the extent possible. If the parties are unable to agree, the University will make the determination in its sole discretion.
This policy does not apply where the spouse of an employee is a student at the University so long as such relationship is disclosed to the Director of Human Resources.