Certain relationships may arise in the work and educational environment that have the potential for compromising or appearing to compromise the fairness and objectivity of a supervisor, in relation to subordinates, and which may result in a conflict of interest. The University recognizes that all individuals are entitled to freely choose their personal associations and relationships. However, when a supervisor enters into a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a staff member or student whom he or she supervises, a power differential may exist which can compromise an individual’s exercise of such choice in personal relationships. Others may also perceive such a relationship as one of preferential treatment that may be detrimental to themselves or others.
Consequently, romantic and/or sexual relationships between managers and staff or students under their supervision - even though consensual – are discouraged. If such relationships are entered into, they should be approached in a sensitive manner and with an understanding of how they may be perceived by others. Similarly, relationships between individuals on the same level, where there is no component of authority by one individual over another, may be misinterpreted by others and should also be approached in a sensitive manner.
Romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty and students whom they supervise are prohibited and governed by the Policy on Sexual and Romantic Relationships Between Faculty and Students found in the Faculty Handbook. Romantic and/or sexual relationships between coaches and student-athletes whom they supervise are similarly prohibited and treated in the same manner as personal relationships between faculty and students. [See Policy on Sexual and Romantic Relationships Between Faculty and Students in Faculty Handbook]
If a supervisor is engaged in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a subordinate staff member or student, the supervisor is required to notify his or her immediate supervisor of the relationship and to make alternate arrangements for supervision of the subordinate staff member or student, including especially decision making regarding any employment or educational action pertaining to the subordinate staff member or student.