Skip to main content
  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

Review of Terminology

Having a sense of the seven terms below is essential if the reader is to participate effectively in the development of the policy. We offer these simple, “definitions” recognizing that every term is subject to multiple interpretations.

By a relationship we mean a relationship between people that involves romance and/or sex. By a concern we mean a concern about one’s professional or academic standing. A relationship between two people is consensual if the individuals are, at all stages in the relationship, engaging in the relationship willingly and voluntarily. Harassment becomes an issue when one party tries to initiate or maintain a relationship by exploiting the concerns of another party against the other party’s wishes. A power differential exists in a relationship between people if one individual’s job responsibilities enable that individual to affect the academic or professional progress of another individual. A person who has the measure of control is the authority and the individual who is subject to that control is a subordinate.

Last Updated: December 4, 2017 at 11:47 am