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5640 Employee and Student Relationships

Engaging in a consensual romantic or sexual relationship with any student for whom an employee has, or shall expect to have in the future, academic instructional, evaluative, or supervisory responsibility may expose the College and the employee to liability for violation of laws against sexual harassment and sex discrimination. Therefore employees shall avoid engaging in romantic or sexual relationships with students over whom they have or may reasonably expect to have direct pedagogical, academic instructional, evaluative, supervisory, or advising responsibilities regardless of whether the relationship is consensual. Employees shall neither initiate nor participate in decisions involving a direct benefit (initial appointment, retention, promotion, salary, leave of absence, or educational or participatory decisions, etc.) for an individual with whom they have a consensual romantic or sexual relationship. Examples of employees to whom this may apply include but are not limited to: faculty, athletic coaches, counselors, supervisors of student employees, advisors and directors of student organizations. It also includes employees who have influence over College-related decisions regarding the student’s housing, financial aid or participation in College activities.

For purposes of this policy, direct pedagogical, academic instructional, evaluative, supervisory or advising responsibility includes but is not limited to the following activities (on or off campus): supervising student employees, course teaching, examining, grading, advising for a formal project such as a thesis or research, supervising required research or other academic activities, and recommending in an institutional capacity for admissions, employment, fellowships, or awards. "Students" refers to those enrolled in any and all educational and training programs of the College.

An employee who enters into a consensual relationship with a student must take reasonable steps to avoid violating this policy. If, due to circumstances not originally anticipated or foreseen by an employee, the consensual relationship could be perceived as violating the provisions of this policy, the employee then must report the relationship to the immediate supervisor and cooperate with whatever steps are reasonable and necessary to avoid violating the terms of this policy. Any doubt or question about whether disclosure is required must be resolved in favor of disclosure. The supervisor receiving a report of such a relationship shall keep the report confidential, and communicate it to others only where there is a need for them to know in order to carry out this policy. The supervisor and employee shall agree on the reasonable steps to avoid a violation of this policy and document the agreement in writing. A copy of the agreement shall be provided to the area Vice President. If the supervisor and employee are unable to come to an agreement, the issue shall be referred to the area Vice President for final determination. If the employee is a Vice President, the matter shall be referred to the College President. 

Steps to ensure a violation of this policy does not occur include, but are not limited to: the student transferring to another course, section, seminar, etc. taught by a different faculty member; assigning or transferring the student to another academic advisor; the student dropping a course; the department bringing in an alternate grader; assigning an alternate supervisor or reviewer, or assigning an alternate counselor.

Adopted 08/11/2014