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XI. Consensual Relationships

A.  Discouraging Sexual or Romantic Relationships between Students and Persons in Authority

Sexual behavior that is consensual by all involved parties does not constitute a Sexual Misconduct Violation.  However, consensual sexual relationships in circumstances where one individual has power or authority over another may result in a violation of this policy, and/or may give rise to complaints by others of disparate treatment. Employees and Third Parties (contractors, vendors) should understand the possibilities for coercion in sexual relationships with Students with whom the Employees or Third Parties also have instructional, advisory or supervisory relationships. Even though a relationship may have been entirely consensual at its inception, a significant power differential exists when an Employee or Third Party has the authority to influence the employment or academic progress of the student. Students have a right to an academic, professional, and socially engaging community and such relationships undermine the likelihood of such a community by introducing the possibility or perception of favoritism, abuse of power, and conflict of interest, all of which compromise the ability of Employees and Third Parties to carry out their responsibilities to both Students and the College in support of our educational mission and consistent with principles of academic integrity.

For these reasons, the College strongly discourages consensual sexual or romantic relationships between Employees or Third Parties and Students, and such relationships are not allowed where an Employee or a Third Party has a professional evaluative, advisory, or supervisory responsibility with a Student. If such relationship currently exists, or has existed before any professional responsibility arose for the Employee or Third Party at Hampshire College, the Employee shall disclose the relationship to their immediate supervisor (staff), or to their School Dean (faculty), and Third Parties shall disclose to Human Resources.  The College will protect privacy but reserves the right to share information with individuals who may have a need to know in order to ensure compliance with this policy.

Upon disclosure, the Employee or Third Party shall remove themselves from undertaking or continuing any professional responsibilities related to the Student, including but not limited to the Student’s evaluation or supervision. The supervisor (staff), School Dean (faculty), or Human Resources (Third Parties), working together with the Title IX Coordinator, and, as needed, other offices necessary to consult in affecting changes, such as Human Resources, the Dean of Faculty Office, or the Center for Academic Support and Advising, will make the necessary alternative arrangements for the Employee or Third Party and the Student.  Supervisors and School Deans will also work with their Division Head to assure that arrangements do not result in workload inequalities among Employees.  The supervisor, School Dean, or Human Resources and the Employee or Third Party will develop a plan for periodically checking in on the status of this arrangement.

Employees and Third Parties shall take appropriate actions to minimize any actual or potential preferential or adverse consequences to the Student, or to other members of the College community resulting from any such sexual relationships.  Generally, such disclosure will not result in a demotion nor adversely impact the Employee or Third Party in terms of condition of employment, benefits, or status, unless there are circumstances that support a finding of Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment. With respect to the Student, arrangements shall be made to prevent interference with, or deprivation of, any academic or professional opportunities.

B.  Relationships Between Employees

In cases where a consensual sexual or romantic relationship exists between Employees who hold unequal positions of authority, it is important that the person in the position of greater authority does not exercise any supervisory or evaluative function over the other person in the relationship.  Accordingly, if this dynamic exists, the Employees in the relationship shall notify Human Resources to evaluate the situation and ensure that alternate supervisory or evaluative arrangements are put in place.  The College will protect Employee privacy but reserves the right to share information with individuals who may have a need to know about the relationship in order to make alternative supervisory arrangements in compliance with this policy.