Consensual Amorous Relationships

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Scope: Who is Covered by this Policy?

Faculty and Staff


Policy

What is Prohibited

Subject to the limited exceptions outlined here, all Miami faculty members are prohibited from pursuing or engaging in an amorous relationship with any Miami undergraduate students. 

Miami graduate assistants are prohibited from pursuing or engaging in an amorous relationship with any Miami undergraduate student enrolled in their courses or over whom they have other University responsibility or authority, wherein the graduate assistant has the power or authority to alter or influence the conditions of the student’s participation in the University’s educational programs or activities. This specifically includes supervision in a lab or tutoring site.

Staff are prohibited from pursuing or engaging in an amorous relationship with any Miami graduate or undergraduate student over whom they have University supervisory responsibility or authority, wherein the staff member has the power or authority to alter or influence the conditions of the student’s participation in the University’s educational programs or activities. This specifically includes student employment, coaching, athletic training, and advisors to student organizations.

“Pursuit” means seeking a date or romantic relationship, making romantic or sexual comments to a student that a reasonable person would perceive as having intent toward such a relationship, or to seek out an amorous personal relationship. Mere presence or activity on an online dating application is not evidence of pursuit of amorous relationships prohibited under this policy.

“Student” refers to persons who have been admitted to the University (beginning at their orientation) and continuing during academic terms for which they are enrolled, and during breaks between academic periods including University holidays and vacations, and during periods of suspension. A person is no longer deemed a student when they have completed their degree program and graduated, are not seeking re-enrollment, or following one semester of having not been enrolled.

Relationships in violation of this policy should not be pursued or engaged in while the student is enrolled or the faculty or staff member is employed by Miami University.

[Note that sexual harassment is covered by a different policy--the Sexual Misconduct Protocol—and is defined as unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex, including gender, gender identity, or expression, or sexual orientation, that is sufficiently severe and pervasive to adversely impact a term or condition of a person’s ability to participate in the University’s educational programs or activities. Sexual harassment includes conduct that unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working learning, or living environment.]

Exceptions

Relationships that exist prior to employment or enrollment at Miami will generally be exempted from this policy. This includes Miami employees whose partners enroll in classes at Miami.

Process for Reporting Exceptions and Violations and Enforcing Consequences

Requesting and Reporting Exceptions

Relationships that exist prior to employment or enrollment at Miami should be reported by the employee when employment or enrollment begins and on the required Ethics Questionnaire. When partners of Miami employees enroll in classes, this should be reported via the required Ethics Questionnaire.

If an employee begins a relationship that is allowed by the above policy (for example, a faculty member begins dating a graduate student outside their department over whom they have no supervisory responsibility) or is already in such an allowable relationship, they should report the relationship to their supervisor and the appropriate personnel office to ensure any conflicts in reporting or supervision can be addressed. These relationships, barring any unusual conflicts, will be exempted from this policy.

When existing or developing and allowable relationships are reported, a central purpose of the reporting is to ensure that no immediate conflicts exist or come to exist in teaching or other supervisory roles.

Employees should be aware for their own protection that what appears at the time to be

consensual behavior may later be perceived by one of the parties to be sexual

harassment. Thus, those disclosing pre-existing or allowable amorous relationships should be aware that disclosing a relationship does not change the power differential or protect from future accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct. In the event of a charge of sexual harassment arising from such circumstances, the university will in general be unsympathetic to a defense based upon consent when the facts establish that a faculty-student or staff-student power differential existed within the relationship.

Reporting Potential Violations of the Policy

Anyone seeking to report a violation of this Consensual Amorous Relationship policy may make an anonymous EthicsPoint report, contact Human Resources or Academic Personnel Services, use the OEEO Incident Reporting Form,  and/or contact a supervisor such as the department chair or area supervisor of the person who is believed to have violated the policy.

All reports will initially be reviewed by OEEO to ensure that reported actions do not violate Sexual Misconduct policies. Sexual harassment or sexual misconduct will be handled as the policies and laws governing such violations dictate. If the Sexual Misconduct policies do not apply, the matter will be referred to the employee’s department chair, dean, or supervisor.

Actions that violate this Consensual Amorous Relationship policy will be treated in the first instance as an opportunity for education, following the existing guidelines for disciplinary action for each category of employee, as linked below. Note that for faculty members, chairs are charged with initially advising their faculty regarding policy violations; “If problems identified by the department chair are not resolved following one or more personal meetings, and/or written communications, then the chair may issue a written summary, which will be placed in the faculty member’s personnel file, along with any response from the faculty member.” In combination with the first-line education described above, the policies linked below constitute, in effect, progressive disciplinary procedures intended to curtail the behavior and protect all involved.


Related Form(s)

Not Applicable.


Additional Resources and Procedures

Not Applicable.


FAQ

Not Applicable.


Policy Administration

Next Review Date

07/01/2025

Responsible Officer  

  • Associate Vice President for Human Resources
  • Assistant Provost for Academic Personnel
  • Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services

Legal Authority

N/A

Compliance Policy

Yes

Revision History

New July 2021: Replaced "Reporting Romantic and Sexual Relationships in the Instructional and Supervisory Setting"

Reference ID(s)

  • MUPIM 3.16
  • OAC 3339-3-16

Reviewing Bodies

  • Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services
  • University Senate