Statement on Consensual Relations between Faculty and Students, Athletic Staff and Student-Athletes and Employees and Subordinates
Consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships between employees (including faculty and athletic staff) and students with whom they also have an academic, supervisory or evaluative relationship, or between an employee and their subordinate, is fraught with the potential for exploitation and may compromise the University’s ability to enforce its policy against sexual harassment. Employees must be mindful that the authority that they exercise in their interactions with students and subordinates may affect the decision of a student or a subordinate to enter into or end a romantic or sexual relationship. Even when both parties initially have consented, the development of a sexual relationship renders both the employee and the institution vulnerable to possible later allegations of sexual harassment in light of the significant power differential that exists between faculty members and students, athletic staff members and student-athletes or supervisors and subordinates.
In their relationships with students and subordinates, faculty, athletic staff and supervisors are expected to be aware of their professional responsibilities and to avoid apparent or actual conflict of interest, favoritism, or bias. When a sexual or romantic relationship exists, effective steps should be taken to ensure unbiased evaluation or supervision of the student or subordinate.