The integrity of the University’s educational mission
is promoted by professionalism that derives from mutual trust and respect in
faculty-student relationships. Similarly,
the University is committed to the principle of protecting the integrity and
objectivity of its staff members in the performance of their University
duties. It is therefore
fundamental to the University’s overall mission that the professional
responsibilities of its faculty and staff be carried out in an atmosphere that
is free of conflicts of interest that compromise these principles.
[For further information about conflicts of interest, please refer to
the Conflict of Interest policy in the Operations Manual at II.18 and the
Conflict of Interest in Employment policy in the Operations Manual at III.8.]
Romantic and/or sexual relationships where one member
of the University community has supervisory or other evaluative responsibility
for the other create conflicts of interest and perceptions of undue advantage.
There are also special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship
between individuals in inherently unequal positions of power (such as teacher
and student, supervisor and employee). Such
relationships may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision
and evaluation provided, and the trust inherent particularly in the
student-faculty relationship. They
may, moreover, be less consensual than the individual whose position confers
power believes. The relationship is likely to be perceived in different ways
by each of the parties to it, especially in retrospect.
Moreover, such relationships may harm or injure others
in the academic or work environment. Relationships in which one party is in a
position to review the work or influence the career of the other may provide
grounds for complaint when that relationship gives, or creates the appearance
of, undue access or advantage to the person involved in the relationship, or
when it restricts opportunities or creates a hostile environment for others.
Such relationships also have the potential for other
adverse consequences, including the filing of charges of sexual harassment
and/or retaliation under the University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment if,
for example, one party to the relationship wishes to terminate the
relationship to the other party’s objection.
In those circumstances when sexual harassment is alleged as the result
of a romantic and/or sexual relationship,
the existence of the relationship is not a per se violation of the Policy on
Sexual Harassment. However, the apparent consensual nature of the relationship
is inherently suspect due to the fundamental asymmetry of power in the
relationship and it thus may be difficult to establish consent as a defense to
such a charge. Even when both parties consented at the outset to a romantic
involvement, this past consent does not remove grounds for or preclude a
charge or subsequent finding of sexual harassment based upon subsequent
This policy applies to consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships between individuals of the same sex or of the opposite sex.
II. PROHIBITED RELATIONSHIPS
– POLICY STATEMENT
For the foregoing reasons, all romantic and/or sexual
relationships between faculty and students in the instructional context are
prohibited at the University of Iowa.
No faculty member shall have a romantic and/or sexual
relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who is enrolled in a
course being taught by the faculty member or whose academic work is being
supervised, directly or indirectly, by the faculty member.
For definitions of “faculty” and “instructional
context,” please refer to §V below.
DISCOURAGED RELATIONSHIPS REQUIRING DISCLOSURE AND MANAGEMENT
In light of the potential for apparent and actual
conflicts of interest, the following relationships are strongly
discouraged at the University of Iowa; where such relationships arise,
however, they are required to be disclosed and managed as indicated below:
Between faculty and students:
of the instructional context, a faculty member who
engages in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student must promptly
disclose the existence of the relationship to his or her immediate supervisor if
there exists a reasonable possibility that a conflict of interest may arise.
When a conflict of interest exists or is likely to arise, such
relationships appear to others to be exploitative of or create apparent
advantage for the student, and may later develop into conflicts of interest
prohibited by §II above in situations that cannot be anticipated fully.
potential conflict of interest exists when the student is a graduate student in
the same department or academic program as the faculty member, or is an
undergraduate student and is majoring or minoring in the same department as the faculty member. A
conflict of interest also may arise if the student is studying in a department
separate from the faculty member. When
a potential conflict of interest
exists or is reasonably likely to
arise, the faculty member must promptly disclose the relationship to his or her
the relationship is disclosed, the immediate supervisor will evaluate the
situation to determine whether an actual conflict of interest exists or is
likely to arise and will develop a management plan to address the potential
conflict of interest. The faculty member has the professional and ethical
responsibility to remove himself or herself from any decisions that may reward
or penalize the student involved and otherwise adhere to the management plan.
b. Between staff members and students:
and/or sexual relationships between staff members and students employed under
their supervision are governed by the University of Iowa Policy on Conflict of
Interest in Employment (University Operations Manual III.8). It may sometimes be
difficult to determine whether the staff-student relationship exists in an
employment or in an instructional context.
Where such an ambiguity exists, the context will be assumed to be
instructional and the relationship subject to the prohibition set forth in §II
between faculty members, between faculty and staff, or between staff members,
where one person supervises the other, are also governed by The University of
Iowa Policy on Conflict of Interest in Employment, University Operations Manual
IV. EXAMPLES OF PROHIBITED AND DISCOURAGEDRELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN FACULTY AND STUDENTS
Student B is in a class taught by Professor A.
The Consensual Relationships Policy prohibits a romantic or sexual
relationship between these two parties in the instructional context.
When the class has concluded and Professor A has submitted the final
grades, this policy may continue to prohibit Professor A from engaging in a
romantic or sexual relationship with Student B, or may discourage such a
relationship, depending upon the academic affiliation of Student B and the
likelihood that a conflict of interest may arise.
Professor A and Student B, a graduate student in Professor A’s
department, are involved in a romantic relationship. This policy prohibits Professor A from teaching and
supervising Student B, and mandates disclosure and management of any potential
conflict of interest.
The partner of Professor A enrolls in an academic program at the
University offered by the same college in which Professor A’s department is
located. If the partner enrolls in
the same academic program or department
as Professor A, this policy requires Professor A to disclose the relationship
and that any potential conflict of interest be managed to ensure that Professor
A does not teach or supervise the partner, or involve himself or herself in any
decision that may reward or penalize the partner. If the partner’s academic program operates independently of Professor A’s department, Professor A
would not be required to disclose the relationship unless the potential for a
conflict of interest might arise.
Graduate Student C and Graduate Student D are married and enrolled in the
same academic program. This policy
prohibits D from enrolling in a class taught by C (as instructor, teaching
assistant, or grader) and vice-versa. If
C (or D) were to complete his or her graduate program and acquire the status of
faculty member (such as adjunct professor, visiting professor, or assistant
professor) in the same department, this policy would apply as in Example 2.
C would be required to disclose the relationship to the DEO and remove
himself or herself from any decisions that may reward or penalize Graduate
For the purposes of this policy, the terms set forth
below are defined as follows:
a. Faculty or faculty
member means all those who teach at the University, and includes graduate
students with teaching responsibilities and other instructional personnel. This
term also includes faculty, staff
members, and graduate
whose duties include supervision or evaluation of a student’s
or instructional context means a
context that involves academic instruction or evaluation or supervision, direct
or indirect, of a student’s academic work.
These terms also include employment situations where the primary
motivation for participation by the employee is instructional.
Such situations include, but are not limited to, the employment of
medical residents, teaching assistants, and student research assistants.
VI. BRINGING COMPLAINTS
1. Who may bring a complaint
complaint alleging a violation of this Policy may be brought by any person.
“Any person” includes, but is not limited to, any third party who
believes that a conflict exists or that he or she may be or may have been
disadvantaged by virtue of the existence of a romantic and/or sexual
relationship prohibited by this Policy. The
process may also be initiated by the Office of the Provost of the University
(for relationships involving faculty), by the Office of the Vice President for
Finance and University Services (for relationships involving staff), or by the
Office of Affirmative Action, or by the designee of any of those offices.
Consensual relationships that are terminated by one party to the
objection of the other party may also lead to separate claims of sexual
harassment which may be brought pursuant to the procedures outlined in the
Policy on Sexual Harassment.
2. Where to bring a complaint
alleging a violation of this Policy are to be brought to and investigated by the
Office of Affirmative Action consistent with the requirements and provisions for
complaints brought pursuant to the University of Iowa Policy on Sexual
Harassment (University Operations Manual II.4) and the procedures applicable to
complaints brought under that Policy (University Operations Manual II.5).
Office of Affirmative Action will investigate the complaint,
giving both the complainant and respondent an opportunity to be heard
a finding as to whether there is a reasonable basis to believe there
has been a violation of this Policy.
In those cases where the respondent is a faculty member,
the Office of the Provost will review the finding of the Office of
Affirmative Action and will determine whether
formal disciplinary action will be pursued.
In those cases where the respondent is a staff member whose duties
include supervision or evaluation of a student’s academic work, the decision
to pursue formal disciplinary action,
as well as the decision regarding the formal disciplinary
action to be pursued, will be made by the Provost in consultation with the
vice president responsible for the unit employing the charged staff member.
In those cases where the respondent is a graduate assistant, the
decision to pursue formal disciplinary action, as well as the decision regarding
the formal disciplinary action to be pursued, will be made by the Dean of the
Graduate College or that person’s designee.
formal disciplinary actions that may be taken when this Policy
violated include, but are not limited to, the following:
mandatory education or training, verbal warning, written warning,
suspension, termination, or a combination of the above.
4. Applicable procedures
proposed disciplinary actions resulting from violations of this Policy by:
persons holding faculty appointments will be governed by the Faculty
Dispute Procedures (University Operations Manual III.29) and the portion of the
Procedures dealing with faculty ethics (University Operations Manual III.15).
(b) professional and scientific staff members will be governed by the Policy Establishing Grievance Procedures for Professional and Scientific Personnel (University Operations Manual III.28.4).
(d)graduate assistants, when dismissal is sought, will be
governed by the Graduate Assistant Dismissal Procedure (University Operations
Manual III.12.4). When disciplinary action other than dismissal is taken by the
Dean of the Graduate College, a graduate assistant may appeal through any
existing contractual grievance procedures.
under union contract will be governed by the relevant contract.
jw/sh/CR DRAFT 02-19-02