Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College

Policy of Consensual and Amorous Relations


Human Resources Office

Policy of Consensual and Amorous Relations

Students should be free to develop relationships that supplement formal classroom instruction, and employees should be free to develop friendships and engage in social contact with supervisors and fellow employees. In most cases, social interaction among supervisors and employees, between fellow employees, and among faculty and staff members and students will benefit the entire academic community by promoting the interchange of ideas, building mutual trust and respect, facilitating communication, and reducing misunderstandings.

However, when a person in a position of power and authority abuses or appears to abuse that position, mutual trust and respect are lost and the academic environment suffers UW-Superior faculty, staff members, and supervisors exercise power and authority over UW-Superior students and employees over whom they have current or potential evaluative, supervisory, instructional, or other professional responsibility. This inherent power imbalance makes consent within any sexual or amorous relationship between a supervisor and employee or between a faculty or staff member and student suspect, and may impede the real or perceived freedom of the student or employee to thereafter terminate or otherwise alter the relationship. The relationship may create real or apparent impropriety, loss of objectivity, and a conflict of interest in any evaluative, supervisory, instructional, or other professional role which the faculty or staff member may have, or may develop in relation to the student or employee, and may expose the individual faculty or staff member, as well as UW-Superior, to possible legal charges and liability.

Therefore, to avoid the breakdown of mutual trust and respect, which may result within the academic community from such sexual or amorous relationships,

It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-Superior that:

1. Commencement, upon either person's initiative, of a sexual or amorous relationship between a UW-Superior faculty or staff member and a student with respect to whom such faculty or staff member has current professional responsibility shall be prohibited.

An amorous relationship shall be defined as a personal relationship that a reasonable person would consider to be amorous in nature.

Sanctions :

Any faculty or staff member who engages in a sexual or amorous relationship with a student shall be subject to counseling, reprimand, probation, suspension, or discharge.

Remediation:

Any UW-Superior faculty or staff member who nevertheless engages in a sexual or amorous relationship shall be required to remove him or herself from any evaluation of the student and from any actual or apparent activity or decision which may or may appear to reward, penalize, or otherwise affect the student, and to otherwise take appropriate action to minimize any potential preferential or adverse consequences to the student, or to other members of the University community from any such sexual or amorous relationship. It shall also be the responsibility of the administrative head of the faculty or staff member's academic or administrative unit, if he or she is made aware of the relationship, to assure that the foregoing steps are taken.

A student shall not be subject to sanction for such a relationship. Reasonable arrangements shall be made, if feasible, to prevent interference with the student's educational opportunities. A student employee may be transferred from one position to a similar one, without demotion or other adverse effect on the benefits, terms, or conditions of employment.

If the relationship exists or existed before any current professional responsibility arose for the faculty or staff member in relation to the student, the faculty or staff member shall be prohibited from thereafter undertaking professional responsibility for the student with whom he/she has or had a sexual or amorous relationship. In no case, however, shall such prohibition result in a demotion or otherwise adversely affect the benefits, terms, or such conditions of employment. In the case of the student, reasonable alternative arrangements shall be made, if feasible, to prevent interference with educational opportunities.

Any arrangements made to remediate this relationship do not exempt the faculty or staff member from potential sanctions.

2. a. Sexual or amorous relationships between a faculty or staff member and a student to whom the faculty or staff member does not have a current professional responsibility are strongly discouraged.

b. Sexual or amorous relationships between a supervisor and a non-student employee to whom such supervisor has current or reasonable foreseeable professional responsibility are strongly discouraged.

Where such a relationship exists, previously existed, or develops, it shall be the responsibility of the supervisor and his/her supervisor, to remove the supervisor from any evaluation of the employee, and from any activity or decision which may or may appear to reward, penalize, or otherwise affect the employee, and to otherwise take appropriate action to minimize any potential preferential or adverse consequences to the employee or to other members of the College community from any sexual or amorous relationship. An employee shall not be subject to sanction for such a relationship. The supervisor or employee may be removed or transferred from a position (without demotion or adverse effect on the employee's benefits, terms or conditions of employment) which gives the supervisor the power to evaluate, reward, penalize, or otherwise affect the employee.

3. If a student makes a complaint of sexual harassment against a faculty or instructional staff member which arises from a sexual or amorous relationship between the faculty or staff member and the student, the faculty or staff member shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the relationship was entirely consensual and uninfluenced by the faculty or staff member's professional relationship with the complainant. If a sexual harassment complaint is made by a third person with respect to the sexual or amorous relationship of a faculty or instructional staff member and student who is not the complainant, consent to the relationship between the faculty of staff member and the student shall not constitute a defense to the third person's complaint, in so far as the allegations concerning the relationship between the faculty or staff member and student support the complaint of the third person.

Approved Faculty Senate: 3/26/02

Approved Academic Staff Senate: 4/09/02


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