Consensual Relationships UPPS No. 04.04.39
Issue No. 2
Review: October 1 E4Y
01. POLICY STATEMENTS
01.01 It is the policy of the 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 the subordinate 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 for the supervision, evaluation, teaching, grading, or advising of the employee, student, or student employee.
01.02 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.
01.03 This policy applies to all faculty, staff, and students of Texas State University-San Marcos.
02.01 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 directly supervised, taught, evaluated, or advised by that university employee.
02.02 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.
03. REPORTING RESPONSIBILITY
03.01 If a consensual relationship exists or begins to develop, the individual in the supervisory, teaching, or advisory position shall 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.
04. IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITY
04.01 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 the conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety caused by the relationship. In most instances, providing an alternative means for supervising, teaching, advising, or evaluating the subordinate employee, student, or student employee will alter the conditions that create the conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety.
05. PROCEDURE FOR FAILURE TO COOPERATE
05.01 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.
06. PROCEDURE FOR GRIEVANCE OF DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
06.01 An individual who is disciplined may grieve or appeal using existing university procedures.
07. QUESTIONS REGARDING THIS POLICY
07.01 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.
08.01 Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:
Chief Diversity Officer and October 1 E4Y
Director of Equity & Access
University Attorney October 1 E4Y
Dean of Students October 1 E4Y
Chair, Faculty Senate October 1 E4Y
Chair, Staff Council October 1 E4Y
09. CERTIFICATION STATEMENT
Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Equity and Access; senior reviewer of this UPPS
Special Assistant to the President