Consensual Relationship Policy
This policy establishes rules for the conduct of consensual relationships between employees and between employees and students, including supervisory personnel, in an attempt to prevent conflicts and maintain a productive and professional work environment.
Adelphi University strives to provide an educational and work environment that is collegial, respectful and productive. This policy establishes rules for the conduct of consensual relationships between employees and between employees and students, including supervisory personnel, in an attempt to prevent conflicts and maintain a productive and professional work environment.
Reason for Policy
Entering into a sexual, dating or romantic relationship (“Consensual Relationship”) when one individual has power or authority over the other may compromise freely given consent, put the academic and professional development of the individuals at risk, and seriously undermine the foundation of trust, fairness and integrity that is essential to Adelphi’s academic mission. Faculty, administrators, and others who educate, supervise, evaluate, employ, counsel, coach or otherwise make decisions or recommendations as to the other person in connection with their employment or education at the University, or who otherwise have actual or apparent authority over a student or subordinate, should understand the fundamentally unbalanced nature of the relationship. In the context of the University’s educational and employment context, Consensual Relationships in circumstances where one individual has greater power or authority over another individual may raise sexual harassment concerns and can create perceptions of favoritism and preferential treatment. For these reasons, such relationships are prohibited.
Who is Governed by This Policy
Faculty, administration, staff and students.
Consensual Relationships between the following individuals are specifically prohibited:
- A faculty member and an undergraduate student;
- A faculty member and a graduate student in the same discipline or academic program or where the faculty member evaluates or supervises that student in any way;
- An academic or faculty advisor and an advisee;
- A teaching assistant and a student in the teaching assistant’s class;
- A coach and a student-athlete; and,
- A manager/supervisor/dean and an employee over whom they have supervisory authority.
This list is not exhaustive; other circumstances in which one individual has greater power or authority over another may also violate this policy. In the employment context, supervisory authority means the ability to affect or impact an employee’s terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the manager/supervisor/dean can take or impact action such as hiring, firing, promoting, disciplining, scheduling, training, or deciding how to compensate that employee. If individuals already in a Consensual Relationship foresee the possibility of entering into a relationship of power or authority (for example, through one party enrolling in a program or a class, or taking a new position), or where an Consensual Relationship arises in the context of an existing relationship of power or authority, the individual with supervisory, evaluative or other position of authority and power must notify the relevant supervisors, directors or deans immediately. The relevant supervisor, dean or director shall have the authority, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, to set reasonable conditions to eliminate both the substance and appearance of conflict of interest or abuse of power or authority; to prevent the establishment of direct authority.
To minimize and attenuate indirect authority the relevant supervisor, dean or director may also take measures to prevent the deprivation of educational or employment opportunities for the student or subordinate, and will have the authority, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, to make exceptions to normal academic rules and policies as warranted by the circumstances.
Although it is recognized that the student or subordinate may be a full and willing participant in a Consensual Relationship, both the responsibility for adhering to this policy and the consequences for violating it fall upon the person in a position of power or authority, rather than the student or subordinate. Violations of this policy are referred to the Office of Human Resources outlined below based on the status of the employee in the position of greater power or authority over the other individual.
If allegations of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking arise in connection with a Consensual Relationship, the University will address such charges in accordance with Adelphi’s:
- Anti-Discrimination, Harassment (Including Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking) and Retaliation Policy
Consensual Relationship: A consensual relationship is defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
An employee who is involved in a Consensual Relationship with another employee or student who they supervise may not occupy a position in the same department as, or work directly for or supervise the employee or student with whom he or she is involved.
Adelphi University reserves the right to take prompt action if an actual or potential conflict of interest arises concerning individuals who engage in a consensual relationship that may affect terms and conditions of employment. Supervisors and managers are prohibited from dating subordinates and may be disciplined for such actions, up to and including termination.
When a conflict or the potential for conflict arises because of a Consensual Relationship between employees, even if there is no line of authority or reporting involved, the employees may be separated by reassignment, or terminated from employment. If such a Consensual Relationship between non-supervisory employees develops, it is the responsibility and obligation of the employees involved to disclose the existence of the relationship to the department director or manager, if, and only if, a conflict or the potential for conflict arises.
When a conflict or a potential for conflict affecting terms or conditions of employment arises because of the relationship, the Office of Human Resources will meet with the individuals concerned about the next steps to be taken to eliminate the conflicts and resolve the situation.
This policy does not contain a form for disclosure. We recommend that the individuals concerned contact a member of Human Resources for guidance.
The following is the link to the Anti-Discrimination, Harassment (Including Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking) and Retaliation Policy
- Last Reviewed Date: November 22, 2019
- Last Revised Date: March 25, 2020
- Policy Origination Date: November 22, 2019
Who Approved This Policy
This policy was approved by the Policy Review Board in March 2020 and Executive Leadership in September 2020.