Consenting Relationships

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[The following was approved on May 16, 2001, in accordance with provisions set forth in SIU Board of Trustees 2 Policies C.]

Consenting romantic and/or sexual relationships between a faculty member and a student under the faculty member's academic supervision, or between a supervisor and an employee under the supervisor's supervision are inappropriate and unprofessional behavior and should not occur. Taking note of the respect and trust accorded a professor by a student and of the power exercised by the professor, a relationship between a faculty member and a student should be considered one of professional and client, in which sexual relationships are inappropriate. A similar relationship exists between a supervisor and an employee. The power differential inherent in such relationships may compromise the subordinate's free choice. Others may view such relationship as one of preferential treatment and detrimental to themselves or others. A faculty member or supervisor who enters into a sexual relationship with a student or an employee, where a professional power differential obviously exists, must realize that if a charge of sexual harassment is subsequently lodged, the burden will be on the faculty member or supervisor to prove immunity on grounds of mutual consent.

Relationships between a graduate student and an undergraduate, when the graduate student has some supervisory responsibility for the undergraduate, belong in this category. Among other relationships included are those between a student or employee and administrator, coach, adviser, program director, counselor, or residential staff member who has supervisory responsibility for that student or employee.