Romantic or sexual relationships between students and persons in positions of authority compromise the relationship between students and the university. No member of the university community should simultaneously be romantically or sexually involved with a student whom he or she teaches, advises, coaches, or supervises in any way. Individuals in such positions of authority must not allow these relationships to develop or continue.
Furthermore, no FAS Faculty member, instructor, teaching assistant, teaching fellow, researcher, tutor, graduate student, or undergraduate course assistant, shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with, any student, including a graduate student or DCE student, who is enrolled in a course taught by that individual or otherwise subject t that individual’s academic supervision before the supervision has concluded and, if applicable, a final grade on the student’s supervised academic performance has been submitted to the Registrar. Academic supervision includes teaching, advising a thesis or dissertation, supervising research, supervising teaching, grading, or serving as Director of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies of the student’s academic program. In addition, no resident tutor or freshman proctor shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with, any undergraduate student at Harvard College
Therefore, teachers (see below) must avoid sexual relationships with students over whom they have or might reasonably expect to have direct pedagogical or supervisory responsibilities, regardless of whether the relationship is consensual. Conversely, a teacher must not directly supervise any student with whom he or she has a sexual relationship.
The pedagogical relationship between Instructor and student must be protected from influences or activities that can interfere with learning and objective evaluation. Accordingly, no Instructor shall enter into a romantic or sexual relationship with a student over whom that Instructor has academic responsibility or is likely to have academic responsibility in the future (for example, because of that student’s intended major), regardless of whether the relationship would be consensual. Conversely, no Instructor shall exercise academic responsibility over a student with whom the Instructor has or has had a romantic or sexual relationship, regardless of whether the relationship is or was consensual. For purposes of this paragraph 5, “Instructor” includes an undergraduate or graduate student who is serving as a teaching assistant.
University of Pennsylvania
… any sexual relations between a teacher and a student during the period of the teacher/student relationship are prohibited. The prohibition extends to sexual relations between a graduate or professional student and an undergraduate when the graduate or professional student has some supervisory academic responsibility for the undergraduate, to sexual relations between department chairs and students in that department, and to sexual relations between graduate group chairs and students in that graduate group. In addition, it includes sexual relations between academic advisors, program directors, and all others who have supervisory academic responsibility for a student, and that student. Teachers and academic supervisors who are sexually involved with students must decline to participate in any evaluative or supervisory academic activity with respect to those students.
No faculty, graduate or medical student, medical resident or fellow, postdoctoral fellow or associate, teaching or research assistant or fellow, proctor, mentor, or undergraduate teaching assistant shall request or accept sexual favors from or engage in a romantic, sexual or intimate relationship with any undergraduate, graduate or medical student who is enrolled in a course or section taught by that individual or otherwise subject to that individual’s academic supervision. Academic supervision includes teaching, advising, supervising research, serving on a dissertation or other academic committee, grading, mentoring, coaching, overseeing and/or having influence upon funding and/or academic progress, and/or otherwise occupying a position of influence or power over a student’s academic program.
Part-time involvement of students in the outside professional activities of faculty may, under certain conditions, offer the potential for substantial benefits to the education of the student. In each case of such involvement, the faculty member should obtain prior approval from the department head after discussion with the department head and student. In this context, involvement means any substantive activity, whether paid or unpaid.
In considering such arrangements, faculty should be guided by the need to avoid conflicts of interest and to avoid infringement upon the student’s academic duties and rights. Generally, if the faculty member has a role in supervising the student’s thesis or in supervising the work of the student as a graduate teaching assistant or instructor-g, such outside involvement should not be undertaken — thus avoiding potential conflicts of interest in the evaluation of the student’s performance. If the faculty member does not have a role in supervising the student’s thesis and/or the student’s work as a teaching assistant or instructor-g, such involvement may be undertaken. If the outside work is related to the student’s thesis, special care should be taken to avoid conflict.
If faculty members are already associated with students in outside professional activities, they should disqualify themselves from becoming research supervisors, academic program advisors, or examiners for an advanced degree of those students. Within an MIT research laboratory or academic unit, faculty members should take care not to give the impression of favoritism to those students with whom they are associated in outside activities. Generally, full-time research assistants should not be involved in outside professional activities of faculty — both to avoid conflicts of interest and in light of the obligations of full-time research assistants. A part-time research assistant may engage in such activity if the outside work is not thesis-related and if the faculty member is not his or her supervisor.
Teacher-student relationships carry risks of conflict of interest, breach of trust, abuse of power, and breach of professional ethics. For these reasons, teachers must not engage in any consensual sexual relationships with a student while the teacher is in a position of supervisory academic authority with respect to the student. Nor may a teacher assert any supervisory academic authority with respect to a student who was the subject of a previous consensual sexual relationship. This prohibition extends to consensual sexual relationships between a graduate or professional student and an undergraduate when the graduate or professional student has some supervisory academic responsibility for the undergraduate, to consensual sexual relationships between department Chairs and students in that department, to consensual sexual relationships between graduate advisors, Program Directors, and all others (each of whom is considered a teacher) who have supervisory academic responsibility for a student and that student.
No faculty member should enter into a consensual relationship with a student actually under that faculty member’s authority. Situations of authority include, but are not limited to, teaching, formal mentoring, supervision of research, and employment of a student as a research or teaching assistant; and exercising substantial responsibility for grades, honors, or degrees; and considering disciplinary action involving the student. No faculty member should accept authority over a student with whom he or she has or has had a consensual relationship without agreement with the appropriate dean. Specifically, the faculty member should not, absent such agreement, allow the student to enroll for credit in a course which the faculty member is teaching or supervising; direct the student’s independent study, thesis, or dissertation; employ the student as a teaching or research assistant; participate in decisions pertaining to a student’s grades, honors, degrees; or consider disciplinary action involving the student.
Graduate and professional school students generally are older and have had more developmental opportunities and life experiences than undergraduates. As a result, the parameters of acceptable romantic or sexual relationships between academic appointees and graduate and professional school students are different than those between academic appointees and undergraduate students. Although not per se prohibited, relationships between graduate/professional school students and academic appointees must occur within boundaries designed to ensure fairness and minimize the inappropriate exercise of authority. Often third-party witnesses to such a relationship or suspected relationship want the department chair or dean to address the matter but remain silent out of fear of reprisal. Such individuals are encouraged to come forward and are reminded that the policy is to remove the professional connections between the members of the couple.
In addition, any graduate student with an academic teaching or academic supervisory role is forbidden from having sexual and/or romantic relationship with a student whom he or she teaches or supervises during the duration of the teaching or supervisory relationship (e.g., a graduate student serving as a lecturer may not have a sexual and/or romantic relationship with a student who is enrolled in that course during the duration of the course).
Brandeis University is committed to providing an educational environment where learning can flourish. Romantic and sexual relationships between Instructors and students, even if consensual, negatively impact this environment. Power differentials between students and those in a position to instruct, advise, supervise, evaluate, mentor, or coach them bring into question the student’s ability to give consent meaningfully to
such relationships. An Instructor’s ability to teach, advise, and evaluate a student impartially is compromised when the Instructor and student have a romantic or sexual relationship. Even when the Instructor and student act with integrity, others may
perceive partiality and bias. Dissolution of such relationships can also have adverse effects on the learning environment, as well as harm the student.
The pedagogical relationship between Instructor and student must be protected from influences or activities that can interfere with learning and fair evaluation. Accordingly, no Instructor shall enter into a romantic or sexual relationship with a student whom he/she instructs, evaluates, supervises, advises or over whom he/she is in a position to exercise authority in any way. Conversely, no Instructor shall exercise authority over a student with whom the Instructor has or has had a romantic or sexual relationship.
A consensual romantic or sexual relationship between an affiliate and a student over whom the affiliate has supervision
may undermine the integrity of the educational process and adversely affect the learning and living environment for the student in the relationship and for other students. The risks associated with relationships between an affiliate and a student include conflicts of interest, perceptions of undue advantage, and the potential for abuse of the inherent power differential. Therefore, Boston University’s policy is that no affiliate shall supervise a student with whom the affiliate has a consensual romantic or sexual relationship.
Affiliates should avoid supervising any student with whom the affiliate has had a romantic or sexual relationship in the past. Affiliates also should avoid entering into a romantic or sexual relationship with any student over whom the affiliate reasonably expects to exercise supervisory authority in the future. All affiliates who are not students should avoid entering into romantic or sexual relationships with undergraduate students , regardless of whether or not they exercise supervision over a particular student.
University of Rochester
Intimate personal relations may compromise the integrity of the faculty-student relationship. “Intimate personal relations” include sexual, romantic and close family relationships. Faculty members shall not accept supervisory, evaluative or advisory authority over any student or postdoc with whom they currently share an intimate personal relations, or with whom they have shared such a relationship in the past. Faculty members shall not enter into romantic or sexual relations with undergraduate students of the University, or with any members of the University community (including graduate students and postdocs) over whom they exercise the authority of their faculty position.
Exceptions to this policy may be made when the relationship has been reported to the University Intercessor, and a written plan has been agreed on for managing the professional relationships for the protection of the parties involved. Failure to disclose an intimate relationship which exists or develops between a faculty member and any student or postdoc who the faculty member supervises, evaluates, or advises may subject the faculty member to disciplinary action and also the forfeiture of the protections of indemnification by the University in the event of legal action.
Whenever a teacher has had, or in the future might reasonably be expected to have, academic responsibility over any student, such relationships are prohibited. This includes, for example, any faculty member who teaches in a graduate student’s department, program or division. Conversely, no teacher shall exercise academic responsibility over a student with whom he or she has previously had a sexual or romantic relationship. “Academic responsibility” includes (but is not limited to) teaching, grading, mentoring, advising on or evaluating research or other academic activity, participating in decisions regarding funding or other resources, clinical supervision, and recommending for admissions, employment, fellowships or awards. In this context, students include graduate and professional school students, postdoctoral scholars, and clinical residents or fellows.
Certain staff roles (including deans and other senior administrators, coaches, supervisors of student employees, Residence Deans and Fellows, as well as others who mentor, advise or have authority over students) also have broad influence on or authority over students and their experience at Stanford. For this reason, sexual or romantic relationships between such staff members and undergraduate students are prohibited. Similarly, relationships between staff members and other students over whom the staff member has had or is likely in the future to have such influence or authority are prohibited.
Consensual sexual relationships are prohibited between a student and any faculty member, teaching assistant, or administrative staff member who teaches, supervises, evaluates, or otherwise is in a position to exercise power or authority over that student. Efforts by members of the faculty, teaching assistants, or administrative staff members to initiate these relationships are also prohibited. If a prohibited relationship arises, effective steps must be taken to ensure unbiased evaluation or supervision of the student.
Consensual sexual relationships between a student and any faculty member, teaching assistant, or administrative staff member who is not in a position to exercise direct power or authority over that student (e.g., when the student is in a different school or department) may also be inappropriate because of a perception of power or influence. Any faculty member, teaching assistant, or administrative staff member who engages in such a relationship must accept responsibility for assuring that it does not result in a conflict of interest or raise other issues of professional ethics. In cases of doubt, advice and counsel should be sought from the Dean, department chair, or administrative supervisor.
Entering into a romantic or sexual relationship with any student for whom a faculty member has, or should reasonably expect to have in the future, academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory), e.g., (1) students whose academic program will require them to enroll in a course taught by the faculty member, (2) students known to the faculty member to have an interest in an academic area within the faculty member’s academic expertise, or (3) any student for whom a faculty member must have academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory) in the pursuit of a degree.
University of Illinois
An individual may not initiate or participate in institutional decisions involving a direct benefit or penalty to someone with whom that individual has had a sexual relationship.
Relationships such as those between supervisors and their subordinate employees are inherently asymmetric. Current or past sexual relationships can adversely affect decisions, distort judgments, and undermine morale. Any university employee who participates in academic supervisory or administrative decisions concerning another employee with whom he or she has or has had a sexual relationship has a conflict of interest in these situations.
Accordingly, no individual shall initiate or participate in institutional decisions involving a direct benefit or penalty (employment, retention, promotion, tenure, salary, leave of absence, etc.) to a person with whom that individual has or has had a sexual relationship. He or she must take specific actions to remove himself or herself from all decisions and actions that may influence the career or status of the other employee.
University of Texas
Except as expressly permitted herein, this policy prohibits consensual relationships between:
- employees (including faculty) or University affiliates (“affiliates”) and undergraduate students;
- employees (including faculty) or affiliates and any graduate student whom that individual teaches, manages, supervises, advises, or evaluates in any way;
- Intercollegiate Athletics coaches, affiliates, or athletics employees and student-athletes;
- student employees and any student whom that student employee teaches, manages, supervises, advises, or evaluates in any way; and
- employees (including faculty) and/or affiliates where one teaches, manages, supervises, advises, or evaluates the other in any way, unless the person in the position of greater authority or power notifies appropriate University offices and a mitigation plan (as defined below) is in place
University of Iowa
The following examples are provided for illustrative purposes only. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of situations in which this policy applies.
- Student B is in a class taught by Professor A. The Policy on Consensual Relationships prohibits a romantic or sexual relationship between these two parties in the instructional context. When the class has concluded and Professor A has submitted the final grades, this policy continues to prohibit Professor A from engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with Student B, if Professor A continues to instruct, evaluate, or supervise, directly or indirectly, Student B’s academic work or participation in a University program.
- Professor A and Student B, a graduate student in Professor A’s department, are involved in a romantic relationship. Because they are involved in a romantic relationship, this policy prohibits Professor A from instructing, evaluating, or supervising, directly or indirectly, Student A’s academic work or participation in a University program.
- Graduate Student C and Graduate Student D are married and enrolled in the same academic program. This policy prohibits D from enrolling in a class taught by C (as instructor, teaching assistant, or grader) and vice-versa. If C (or D) were to complete his or her graduate program and acquire the status of faculty member (or other instructional personnel) in the same department, this policy would apply as in paragraph b above.
- Graduate Student C has been working in Professor A’s research laboratory since C enrolled at The University of Iowa. In order to comply with the Policy on Consensual Relationships, Professor A planned to wait until C had completed the graduate degree program before considering a romantic relationship with C. If Student C were to receive a postdoctorate research appointment, this policy would still prohibit Professor A from becoming involved in a romantic relationship with Student C if Professor A is involved in instructing, evaluating, or supervising, directly or indirectly, Student C’s postdoctorate research work or participation in a University program.
- Coach A is romantically attracted to Student B, an athlete (scholarship or walk-on) on the team for which Coach A is an assistant coach. Under this policy, Coach A is considered to be an instructor and is prohibited from engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with any member of the team coached or otherwise overseen.
- Professor A from Department Z is dating Student B, who is majoring in Department Y. Student B is not enrolled in a course taught by Professor A. However, Student B has applied for a collegiate scholarship that is awarded by a committee on which Professor A is serving. Under this policy, Professor A must self-disclose the relationship to the scholarship committee chair and is prohibited from evaluating Student B’s scholarship application.
- Student X, who is enrolled in a course taught by Professor A, schedules a meeting with the DEO of Professor A’s department in order to report that Professor A is apparently engaged in a consensual relationship with another student (Student B) in the class. During the interview, Student X tells the DEO that he or she overheard Professor A tell Student B that Professor A would give Student B an “A” grade for the course if Student B agreed to have sexual relations with Professor A. The DEO realizes that the apparent “quid pro quo” fact pattern alleges a violation of the Policy on Sexual Harassment, which takes precedence over the Policy on Consensual Relationships allegations. Thus, according to University policy, the DEO is required to investigate first Student X’s complaint under the Policy on Sexual Harassment procedures. Once the sexual harassment complaint is resolved, the consensual relationships allegation is revisited and resolved under the Policy on Consensual Relationships procedures.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Any romantic and/or sexual relationship(s) between a faculty member/instructor and a student continues to be prohibited even after a student has completed the faculty member/instructor’s course as long as the student remains in the status of student at the >university. This prohibition is in recognition of a faculty member’s position of authority at the University and their attendant responsibilities which include teaching, research, service, advising, training, mentoring, and evaluation. These duties are wholly incompatible with any such relationship.
Last Updated: October 19, 2017 at 9:45 pm