Consensual Relations Policy
Consensual relations are romantic, amorous and/or sexual relationships into which both parties have voluntarily entered. Faculty-student, staff-student, or supervisor-subordinate employee relationships contain an inherent potential for abuse of power and authority. For this reason, such relationships can be inappropriate and problematic within the College community. Even though the relationship may be consensual at the onset, the degree to which such a relationship is truly mutually consensual is inherently suspect due to the unequal positions of power of the parties involved. Consent at the onset does not remove grounds for or preclude a subsequent charge of a violation of the College’s Sexual and Relationship Misconduct Policy should consent later be withdrawn. In addition, such relationships may harm or injure others in the academic or work environment and provide grounds for complaint when that relationship gives, or creates the appearance of, undue access or advantage to the person involved in the relationship, or when it restricts opportunities or creates a hostile work environment for others. Therefore, such relationships between faculty-student, staff-student, and supervisor-subordinate employees are strongly discouraged. Further, such relationships in which one party has a position of authority, supervision or evaluation with regard to the other are prohibited. A violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action or sanctions, up to and including termination. Abuse of power or authority will be considered when imposing any disciplinary action or sanction for such violation.
This policy is intended to cover those relationships in which there is a power differential between the parties involved. Faculty, supervisors, and staff are strongly encouraged to avoid situations that create the potential for abuse of power or favoritism. The policy does not prohibit consensual relationships between faculty, staff or student peers. If a relationship begins when the two parties are peers, but later one of the parties changes status (e.g. a student graduates and is hired as a staff member), the parties must likewise avoid any situation in which one might potentially exercise power over the other and disclose potential conflicts of interest to the supervisors(s) and area Vice Presidents.