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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

Notes from Outreach Meetings

Meeting with the Financial Disclosure Office

They provide templated letter that says:
here are my financial interests
here’s how it relates to research
I’m under a management plan
this is the manager
you can talk to them or me and conversations will be kept confidential.
Faculty must provide written copies of management plan to all students who then have to sign it and return it to the office.

Suggestions for us:
Everyone working with the couple should feel that they are being treated equitably, and not that they’re stuck witnessing something inappropriate
Be very clear about how we elicit the information
Suggests it be self-disclosure, not asking what others have seen

The 2 1/2 people in the office see approx. 3,000 forms
The 5 person faculty committee, from/with whom they have established guidelines of “if this, then that,” sees complicated cases

Conversations with College  HR Group

Framework around conflict management: standard letter, required when there’s a couple in the same department with a power dynamic, irregardless of classification
in cases where it’s faculty/grad or grad/ugrad the nexus tends to be departmental chairs
HR is asked for advice and help
chairs have to decide if there’s a real impact, a power differential, what’s the radius of authority
definition of “couple” for them can be married, partners, living together, any type of substantive, ongoing relationship
process has been centered around established personnel—faculty-faculty or whatever
“how to create a schematic of reporting that would alleviate concerns of other faculty, staff, students concerned with that power dynamic”
they like that “power imbalance” and radius are part of our core
there would need to be a VERY STRONG education message about how bears the brunt of a consensual positive relationship between two individuals
for example, on other students: even if there’s not a real effect, there’s a perceived effect
where others begin to feel they’re not receiving a fair education
STRONG push for this educational component
grad-lecturer in the field—radius of authority! publications, grants, etc.
really complex, especially in field that cross multiple colleges
“if you need a lot of complex analysis and consistency, you do need someone to at least evaluate it, but then the management plan IS going to be in the department”
lack of clarity on disclosure in such situations right now; too general for them to do anything
committee of HR directors who looks at these things? “this looks like a problem, this doesn’t look like a problem”
thus also confidential
management has to involve HR directors WITH chair/department
a grad could come to their office/should feel open to coming to their office

if grad/ugrad or otherwise all student side, maybe keep in department. If student/faculty, maybe central hr/office.
multiple mechanisms to allow people to come forward with an issue: chair, hr, associate dean, anonymous submission

it’s better to set the expectation for people in authority, than for those not. Especially where people are tied in on a payroll basis.

need to protect “institutional brand”

training allows better support for social connection and limit potential for (through lack of awareness) negative components
CENTRAL OFFICE w/ anonymous consultative assistance

going to have to have positive ways to engage the population. tools, “sustain a relationship and stay in the right lane” protecting institution and individuals

process and system HAS to be externally applied
questions that will be asked, post-facto:
was there a process in place?
to what extent were people aware and notified of the process?
did they take action within policy guidelines? and consistently?

for a TT faculty, separation of employment is a much more serious issue. It IS different, in policy and in legal ability to execute.

Suggested 15 min presentation at a faculty meeting. small bites, scheduled meetings. wouldn’t need to be a long training.
some have had success with that model: bring the training to them
“here’s some things to protect you”
don’t overlook new faculty orientation

HR uses EthicsPoint for complex cases of self-disclosure
allows for identification or not
and then has accountability that the issue is followed up and trackable
from an auditing perspective, data can be retained separate from Cornell University

No jurisdiction over students except as it relates to a paid, hourly employment
but there are some TAs not paid
and some are paid from fellowships

What sanctions are there between slap on the wrist and fired?
suspension w/out pay for a period (a month, a semester, …) (stopping pay from like May 15-June 30)
no salary increase for a few years
potentially could decrease salary for a period of time
decrease their effort (full-time equivalency, and thus salary)
limit access to graduate students if the dept assigns grad students
research accounts
not allowed to supervise anyone
is it the same for tenured vs still probationary?

These are potential, but NOT easy things to do. They all go through the same level of due diligence as a full dismissal. The Dean of the College really needs to be willing—in fact, the entire academic leadership.

but SIP, discretionary research funding, access to grads, lab—all of those are within chair or dean’s power without going through the full rigamarole

do we list these in the policy? helpful for those coming forward to report, helpful for those thinking about a relationship
“could include but are not limited to”

but if you put specifics like that into a policy, you may be setting an expectation for a reportee that’s covered under the policy

department chairs would not make decisions about their spouse/partner
change the reporting relationship
BRIEFLY DOCUMENT WHAT WAS AGREED UPON: actions the person managing the couple’s relationship will or will not take.

Are there periodic check ins w/ subordinate?
But NOT asking about status of the relationship.
they should have a copy of the management plan too.
management plan: 1-year lifetime

responsibility of leadership to make sure the relationship they’re allowing to continue does NOT impact other students in any way, and to encourage self-disclosure where appropriate if it’s important to maintain the fairness, equity, balance of power required as part of the relationship consensual expectations.
part of the management plan can be that you WILL disclose
disclosure as teaching moment

don’t set something up where people won’t disclose BECAUSE of a requirement involved

case has a very detailed thing on management and reports


Last Updated: February 28, 2018 at 1:04 am