CSB/SJU Administrator & Support Staff Policies

 A. POLICY ON CONSENSUAL ROMANTIC OR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN AN ADMINISTRATOR OR SUPPORT STAFF MEMBER & STUDENTS


I. Policy Rationale

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University are committed to maintaining a campus environment characterized by professional and ethical behavior.  The integrity of the educational mission of the College and University are maintained by promoting appropriate standards of professional conduct among administrators and support staff (hereinafter referred to as staff) in their dealings with students.  In these relationships, staff are expected to avoid apparent or actual conflicts of interest, favoritism, bias or exploitation.  When staff engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student, while he or she also has the authority to assign, evaluate, advice, reward or discipline a student, a professional responsibility is violated, even if the relationship appears to be consensual.

As the Joint Human Rights Policy of the College and University states consensual sexual or romantic relationships may also become the basis for a claim of sexual harassment.  These relationships are particularly complex when there is a power imbalance between the individuals involved in the relationship which heightens the potential for exploitation and can diminish the subordinate's freedom of choice.  This is especially true in relationships involving students because the respect and trust accorded a staff member by a student, as well as the power exercised by staff in an academic or evaluative role, makes voluntary consent by the student particularly suspect.  If the student later feels that the power imbalance makes it difficult for him or her to discontinue the relationship, a charge of sexual harassment may result.  Such relationships also affect other members of the campus community adversely.  By placing a staff member in a position to favor or advance the interests of the student who is a party to the relationship, a perception may be created that obtaining favorable treatment is implicitly contingent on engaging in a consensual sexual or romantic relationship.

For these reasons, the College and University strongly discourage staff from involvement in a consensual sexual or romantic relationship with a student for whom they have a direct employment or academic responsibility.  Recognizing that despite this discouragement by the College and University, consenting adults may become involved in a consensual sexual or romantic relationship, it is important that steps be taken to mitigate the real and/or apparent conflict of interest that is created.

II.  Statement of Policy, Procedures & Consequences

Therefore, it is the policy of the College and University that staff involved in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student for whom the staff member has a direct employment or academic responsibility, must promptly report the relationship to his or her Department Manager. The Department Manager must, in turn, report the relationship to the Human Resources Director.  If the staff involved in the relationship is the Department Manager, she/he must report the relationship to the Human Resources Director.  Upon receiving notice, the Department Manager in consultation with the Human Resources Director, or the appointee if the Department Manager is the involved party, must make arrangements for an alternative evaluation mechanism and, if necessary, such other additional arrangements as are prudent under the circumstances, for both parties.

The staff member is obliged to fully cooperate with the Department Manager and Human Resources Director in making these mitigating arrangements.  Such arrangements made in response to the existence of a consensual romantic or sexual relationship will not be undertaken for the purpose of adversely affecting appointment status, pay, benefits or professional opportunities of the staff member.  Similarly, the arrangements will be undertaken with the intent of minimizing or avoiding, to the extent reasonably possible, adverse effects on the educational opportunities of the student.

Failure to promptly report the existence of a romantic or sexual relationship described above is a violation of this policy, and the staff member will be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the Employee Handbook.

A staff member who becomes involved in a consensual amorous or sexual relationship with a colleague should consult the POLICY ON CONSENSUAL ROMANTIC OR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN STAFF MEMBERS located in Appendix I, Part B, in the Employee Handbook.

III. Definitions

For purposes of this policy:
Romantic relationships include relationships in which amorous or romantic feelings exist without physical intimacy and which, when acted upon by the staff member exceed the reasonable boundaries of what a person of ordinary sensibilities would believe to be an educational, professional or supervisory relationship.
Sexual relationships include relationships involving intimate physical contact of a sexual nature.
Amorous has the meaning ascribed to it by the dictionary as being of or pertaining to (sexual) love.*
Romantic has the meaning ascribed to it by the dictionary as being marked chiefly by sexual passion or its gratification.**
A direct academic responsibility for students includes any activity which results in academic reward or penalty including: teaching, advising, supervising work assignments and research projects, moderating an internship, supervising institutionally sponsored travel and making recommendations for College and University employment or awards.
A direct supervisory responsibility for a staff member includes any activity which results in employment related rewards or penalties including, but is not limited to, the following activities; conducting or contributing to performance appraisals or rank and tenure reviews, determining or contributing to the determination of a person's employment status, job description, rank, salary, fringe benefits, or recommending for or influencing the determination of institutional funding, distinguished service awards, or discipline for deficient service.
Students refer to all those registered in any and all educational programs offered by the College/University.
Staff includes any and all employees other than faculty of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.

 *OED SECOND EDITION 1989 Accessed online through the CSB/SJU Library homepage at: http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50007379?single=1&query_type=word&queryword=amorous&first=1&max_to_show=10
**Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster. 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (25 Jan. 2008).

B. POLICY ON CONSENSUAL ROMANTIC OR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ADMINISTRATORS AND SUPPORT STAFF & FACULTY/STAFF COLLEAGUES


I. Policy Rationale

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University are committed to maintaining a campus environment characterized by professional and ethical behavior. To this end, administrators and support staff members (hereinafter referred to as staff) are expected to avoid apparent or actual conflicts of interest, favoritism, bias or exploitation. Thus, it is in the interest of the College and University to provide clear direction to staff about the risks associated with making professional judgments about their faculty/staff colleagues (hereinafter referred to as colleagues) with whom the staff member has or has had a consensual romantic or sexual relationship.

As the Joint Human Rights Policy of the College and University states consensual sexual or romantic relationships may also become the basis for a claim of sexual harassment.  If the colleague later feels that he or she is not free to discontinue the relationship because of the staff member's power to make or influence decisions which reward or punish the colleague, a charge of sexual harassment may result. In such circumstances, it can be very difficult to prove consent and avoid the negative consequences of a finding of sexual harassment.

Such relationships can affect other members of the campus community adversely. A consensual romantic or sexual relationship may create a perception that the processes of evaluation, reward, and discipline of the College and University are unfairly biased and affected by favoritism. The relationship may make the workplace uncomfortable for others.

II. Statement of Policy, Procedures & Consequences

For these reasons, the College and University requires that staff, currently or previously involved in a consensual sexual or romantic relationship with a colleague, excuse him or herself from any decision involving the employment status or work related benefits of the colleague. If required to provide an evaluation of the colleague, the staff member should submit a letter noting the conflict of interest and the resultant inability to provide an evaluation. A staff member who is a member of a committee which makes recommendations regarding the employment status or work related benefits of colleagues should notify their supervisor or department manager of the need to be excused from the decision regarding the colleague. The Supervisor or Department Manager should consult with the Human Resources Director to determine if any other arrangements are necessary to eliminate the conflict of interest. If the Supervisor or Department Manager has the conflict of interest, he or she must notify their Vice President and work with him or her to eliminate the conflict. If other situations arise which involve the staff member in making employment related decisions about their colleague, with whom he or she is involved in a relationship covered by this policy, the conflict should be reported to the Human Resources Director who will work with the parties to eliminate the conflict. Any such arrangements made in response to the existence of a consensual romantic or sexual relationship will not be undertaken for the purpose of adversely affecting the appointment status, pay, benefits or professional opportunities of the staff or colleague.

In the event a consensual sexual or amorous relationship exists, the failure of a staff member to excuse him or herself from the evaluation of or decision making process involving the employment status or work related benefits of the colleague is a violation of this College and University policy, and the staff member will be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in Employee handbook.

Staff who becomes involved in a consensual amorous or sexual relationship with a student should consult the POLICY ON CONSENSUAL ROMANTIC OR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN AN ADMINISTRATOR AND SUPPORT STAFF MEMBER & STUDENTS located in Appendix I, Part A, in the Employee Handbook.

III. Definitions

For purposes of this policy:
Romantic relationships include relationships in which amorous or romantic feelings exist without physical intimacy and which, when acted upon by the staff member exceed the reasonable boundaries of what a person of ordinary sensibilities would believe to be an educational, professional or supervisory relationship.
Sexual relationships include relationships involving intimate physical contact of a sexual nature.
Staff includes any and all employees other than faculty of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.
Amorous
has the meaning ascribed to it by the dictionary as being of or pertaining to (sexual) love.*
Romantic has the meaning ascribed to it by the dictionary as being marked chiefly by sexual passion or its gratification.**

*OED SECOND EDITION 1989 Accessed online through the CSB/SJU Library homepage at: http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50007379?single=1&query_type=word&queryword=amorous&first=1&max_to_show=10
**Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster. 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (25 Jan. 2008).


Endorsed by CSB Board of Trustees and Approved by President MaryAnn Baenninger - May 20, 2013
Approved by SJU Board of Trustees, May 20, 2013