Policy on Consensual Amorous Relationships
Ursinus expects that the professional actions of its faculty and staff will be guided by the interests of the college over individual interests. Much like familial relationships, amorous relationships can compromise decisions and actions by college employees. Additionally, the assumption that an amorous relationship is indeed consensual becomes suspect if there is a supervisory or other power differential between the two individuals. This is particularly important in the instance of faculty, coaches, or student life personnel interacting with “traditional age” students, where there is little room for a truly consensual relationship.
This policy sets guidance and limitations on consensual amorous relationships between members of the Ursinus campus community. It in no way supersedes or substitutes for policies on non-consensual relationships such as Title-IX or state and local law.
Amorous Relationship: Any consensual relationship with a sexual, dating or romantic component, whether past, pre-existing, or current.
Faculty and Staff: Any full or part time employee, retiree, or officially designated volunteer for the college who is not also a full-time student of the college.
Traditional Age Student: Any full or part time undergraduate student who is under the age of 25. Such students in general have not established a personal life independent of the financial and/or residential support of parents or guardians. Any student living in regular undergraduate housing will be deemed a traditional age student for purposes of this policy.
Oversight Authority: An individual has oversight authority over another when the former has the responsibility for performance evaluation (such as grades, employee review, professional recommendations), or oversight (such as supervisory or decision-making responsibility, a mentoring, advising, coaching, organizational sponsoring).
Amorous Relationships between Faculty/Staff and Students
Traditional Age Students: No faculty or staff member may have or enter into an amorous relationship with a traditional age student.
Other Students: No faculty or staff member may have or enter into an amorous relationship with any student over whom the faculty or staff member has oversight authority.
Employees’ Amorous Relationships with Other Employees
Faculty and staff must show discretion in amorous relationships with other faculty and staff for the same reasons as outlined in the Background: differences in authority and perceived or actual power differences can lead to fraught or non-consensual relationships. Therefore, no faculty or staff member may have or enter into an amorous relationship with another employee over whom the faculty or staff member has oversight authority Should an amorous relationship exist or develop between two employees where one has oversight authority over the other, the individual with oversight must recuse from such responsibilities, and report the relationship to that person’s supervisor who will determine if there is a satisfactory alternative oversight authority; such an alternative oversight authority must be discussed with and approved by the Dean’s Office (for faculty) or Human Resources (for staff).
Any employee (faculty or staff) who has or enters into an amorous relationship prohibited by this Policy shall promptly disclose such a relationship to their supervisor and to Human Resources. Such disclosure shall be kept private except to the extent necessary to ensure compliance with this Policy.
The College relies upon the integrity and commitment of its employees to follow its policies, especially in areas where college policy intersects with issues of personal privacy. Nevertheless, the protection of students and employees from potential, even unintentional, exploitation is essential to the trusting relationships required of a residential college. For this reason, violations of this policy by employees will be treated with seriousness, with potential disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
Anyone who has evidence of a violation of this Policy may report it to Human Resources or, if it concerns Human Resources’ staff, to the College’s Vice President & General Counsel. Retaliation against any person reporting a violation of this Policy is prohibited. The College may also initiate action on its own. If a complaint is raised, there will be no presumption that the relationship was welcome to the student or subordinate employee.
Where the complaint involves behavior that may constitute a violation of the College’s Policy Prohibiting Title IX Misconduct And Other Sexual And Gender-based Discrimination, Harassment, And Related Misconduct, the complaint will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator for resolution under that Policy.
Individual departments or areas of the College may establish additional requirements so long as those requirements are no less stringent than those in this Policy. Human Resources is authorized to take such other actions to carry out the intent of this Policy.