Legal and ethical risks are inherent in any sexual or romantic relationship between a person with instructional responsibilities (full-time or part-time faculty, lecturer, visiting professor, graduate assistant, or tutor) and a student whose academic work is being supervised by the person with instructional responsibilities, even when the relationship seems to be consensual. The same is true of a sexual or romantic relationship between a person with non-instructional supervisory responsibilities (faculty, administrator, staff, or student) and someone over whom the person has supervisory responsibility. Individuals involved in a romantic relationship cannot be expected to be able to render an objective assessment of the performance of his or her partner in the relationship; the ability to render an objective assessment is crucial to the role of instructor or supervisor.
Because of these legal and ethical risks, it is the University’s policy that persons shall not have instructional or supervisory responsibilities over anyone with whom they have a sexual or romantic relationship. If such a relationship exists or develops, the person with instructional or supervisory responsibilities shall immediately make arrangements to terminate his or her instructional or supervisory responsibilities over the partner in the relationship. A member of the campus community who fails to withdraw from participation in decisions that may reward or penalize the party with whom he or she has or has had a sexual or romantic relationship will be deemed to have violated his or her ethical obligation to the University.
Violations of this policy may be reported to the Director of Institutional Equity and Internal Investigations or in the case of a student, he or she may report the conduct to the administrative head of Student Affairs. All such complaints and reports will be investigated in accordance with the “Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Complaint Investigation Procedure and Appeal Process.” To knowingly file a false or malicious complaint or report is a violation of this policy.
Approved by the Board of Trustees 12/16/05.