Policies & Procedures

Policies & Procedures

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4017.5  Employee/Employee, Employee/Student Relationships

The Community College's mission is promoted by professionalism, which is fostered by an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. These are diminished when persons in positions of authority abuse their authority, as in the case of amorous relationships between employees and students.

An amorous relationship is one in which two people are engaged in mutual consent in an emotionally (romantic) or physically (sexually) intimate relationship. When such a relationship involves people who differ in power within the college community, it is of special concern because of the potential for conflict of interest and/or abuse of power. Decisions which must be made free from bias or favor come under question when made by a person who has a romantic/sexual relationship with a person who may benefit or be harmed by the decisions. The mere appearance of bias resulting from a consensual romantic/sexual relationship may seriously disrupt the academic or work environment. Equally important, such relationships have the potential to undermine our sense of community, mutual trust, and support.

For these reasons, the College has adopted a policy to strongly advise against consensual relationships between employees when such relationship involves people who differ in power and between an employee and student and to place all employees ôon noticeö that the College views these consensual relationships as unwise and of a high risk, especially when students are involved.

An amorous relationship between an employee and a student is generally wrong when the employee has professional responsibility, such as supervising, grading, or advising for the student. Such a situation increases the chances for abuse of power. Danville Area Community College will view it as unethical if employees engage in amorous relationships with students enrolled in their classes or subject to their supervision. The behavior is, in most cases, unethical even when the relationship is consensual (i.e., both parties have consented), because the voluntary consent of the student is in doubt, given the power imbalance in the student-employee relationship. Even if consent were to be shown, a clear conflict of interest would still exist which might create the appearance of discrimination or favoritism in grading or access to educational opportunities.

Relationships between an employee and a student when the employee has some responsibility for the student are covered by this policy. Relationships between a student and an administrator, other employees having student responsibility, coach, advisor, counselor, and support staff members who have supervisory responsibility for that student are also covered. Also covered under this policy are relationships between two employees when they differ in power.

Employees engaged in unethical conduct of the type described in this policy are subject to the normal disciplinary procedures of the College. Such unethical conduct may or may not involve sexual harassment as prescribed in the Anti-Harassment in Employment and Anti-Harassment in Education policies.

Adopted: 10-20-03