Policy Name: Policy on Circumstances When Consensual Relationships Must Be Mitigated
This policy applies to all regular and temporary faculty and staff, administrators, graduate assistants, and student employees. It pertains to actions that affect any student, employee, or guest of the university.
The university’s goal to produce innovative, creative graduates who are well-prepared for their chosen careers is achieved, in part, by engaging students, faculty, and staff in stimulating and collaborative experiences. In doing so, the university is committed to creating learning environments and working relationships in which students, faculty, and staff trust and respect one another.
Consensual relationships in which there are reporting or evaluative relationships between the parties can pose significant challenges to achieving the desired learning environments and working relationships and therefore must be addressed.
For these reasons, the university strongly discourages these relationships.
For the purpose of this policy, a consensual relationship is a mutually acceptable, romantic and/or sexual relationship between an employee with supervisory, teaching, evaluation, or advisory authority and an employee, student, and/or student employee who is directly supervised, taught, or advised by that employee.
Consensual relationships are prohibited in circumstances in which one party has professional influence or direct authority over the other, unless all three mitigating actions are taken by the accountable parties:
It is the duty of employees to consult with the appropriate supervisors or Human Resources if there are questions about the application or effect of this policy to an existing or potential relationship in which they are or may become involved, or in which employees they directly or indirectly supervise are or may become involved.
An individual is considered in violation of the policy when, upon verification of the consensual relationship, the mitigating actions for which he or she is accountable have not been taken. Suspected policy violations shall be reported by anyone in accordance with university reporting procedures, or to the director of Human Resources or any university supervisor for further investigation. The director of Human Resources will coordinate the investigation in conjunction with the appropriate college and/or division supervisors. If any of these individuals are included in the complaint, they are excluded from the investigative process and determination. Individuals found to be in violation of the consensual relationships policy are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination for staff, or the initiation of dismissal for cause proceedings for faculty.
Questions about this policy or its related procedures can be communicated to the director of Human Resources.
Effective Date: Approved April 12, 2010, by Institute Council