UPPS 04.04.39 - Consensual Relationships
UPPS No. 04.04.39
Issue No. 3
Effective Date: 9/17/2013
Next Review Date: 10/01/2017 (E4Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Chief Diversity Officer and Director, Equity and Access
It is the policy of Texas State University that employees with direct teaching, supervisory, advisory, or evaluative responsibility over other employees, students, or student employees recognize and respect the ethical and professional boundaries that must exist in such situations. While relationships between consenting adults are a personal matter, they can create potential conflicts in the workplace and in the educational setting. Such relationships also contain the potential for exploitation of an employee, student, or student employee and the possible professional or academic disadvantage of third parties.
Should such a relationship develop, the teacher, supervisor, or advisor has the obligation to disclose its existence to an immediate supervisor and cooperate in making alternative arrangements including reassignment of either party or other action to change the power relationship created due to supervision, evaluation, grading, or advising.
All parties should comply with policies and laws pertaining to the confidentiality of student and employee records. Persons who violate these policies or laws are subject to disciplinary action.
This policy applies to all faculty, staff, and students of Texas State University. As used in this UPPS, the terms “faculty, staff, and students” includes individuals serving as interns or as volunteers such as volunteer coaches.
A consensual relationship is a mutually acceptable, romantic, or sexual relationship between a university employee (including a student employee) with supervisory, teaching, evaluation, or advisory authority and an employee, student, or student employee who is supervised, taught, evaluated, or advised by that university employee.
A conflict of interest is an appearance of impropriety that arises when individuals with the authority and the responsibility to evaluate the work or performance of an employee, student, or student employee initiate, acquiesce to, or engage in an intimate romantic or sexual relationship with that employee, student, or student employee.
- If a consensual relationship exists or begins to develop, the individual in the supervisory, teaching, or advisory position must immediately notify his or her immediate supervisor of the relationship and cooperate with that supervisor in making the arrangements necessary to resolve the conflict of interest. Failure of the teacher, supervisor, or individual in the advisory position to report the consensual relationship may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITY
- A supervisor who is notified, or becomes aware, of a consensual relationship shall confirm that the consensual relationship exists by meeting with the parties involved and advising that this type of relationship is discouraged by this policy. The supervisor shall work with all parties to alter the conditions that create a potential conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety caused by the relationship. In most instances, providing alternative arrangements for either party will alter the conditions that create the conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety. In providing alternative arrangements, the supervisor must ensure no harm comes to the person in the relationship who holds less power or authority.
PROCEDURE FOR FAILURE TO COOPERATE
- Employees in positions of authority who persist in consensual romantic or sexual relationships and fail to cooperate in efforts to eliminate the conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety the relationships represent are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. The university will not presume that the relationship was consensual if the subordinate party complains of sexual harassment related to an undisclosed relationship.
PROCEDURE FOR GRIEVANCE OF DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
- An individual who is disciplined may grieve or appeal using existing university procedures.
QUESTIONS REGARDING THIS POLICY
- The Office of the Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Equity and Access will respond to faculty and staff with questions regarding this policy. The dean of Students will respond to students with questions about this policy.
REVIEWERS OF THIS UPPS
Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:
Position Date Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Equity and Access October 1 E4Y TSUS Office of General Counsel October 1 E4Y Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students October 1 E4Y Chair, Faculty Senate October 1 E4Y Chair, Staff Council October 1 E4Y
This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.
Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Equity and Access; senior reviewer of this UPPS
Special Assistant to the President