Consensual Relationships

The appearance of a conflict of interest, coercion, favoritism, or bias in an academic, counseling, or evaluative situation is contrary to the interests of the College, its members, and the public interest which it serves. Personal nonprofessional relations between faculty and students with whom they also have a counseling or academic evaluative role create such an appearance, even where the relationship is genuinely consensual. Such relationships are particularly susceptible to exploitation. The respect and trust accorded an instructor/counselor by a student, as well as the power exercised by the instructor/counselor in an academic, counseling, or evaluative role, make voluntary consent by the student suspect. Even when both parties consent, the development of such a relationship renders both the faculty member and the institution vulnerable to potential allegations of sexual harassment in light of the significant power differential that exists between faculty and students.

Therefore, faculty are advised against participating in consensual relationships with students enrolled in their classes or with students whom they otherwise evaluate, grade, counsel, or supervise. Similarly, faculty should avoid situations requiring them to evaluate, grade, or supervise students with whom they currently have a consensual relationship. Whenever such a situation arises, faculty shall report the situation immediately to the appropriate dean or provost. The dean or provost shall take effective steps to ensure unbiased supervision or evaluation of the student. (For purposes of this policy, "faculty" shall include all regular or adjunct College employees who teach or counsel students.)

Reference

  • HR 3006, Consensual Relationships