CONSENSUAL ROMANTIC OR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS
In its commitment to foster an educational and work environment free from all forms of harassment and discriminatory behavior, Fairmont State College strongly discourages any romantic or sexual relationships between faculty and student, supervisor and subordinate employee, and any other relationship where a power differential exists between the parties.
Even if consensual, these relationships are always a cause for concern because:
a) they may involve one person's exerting power over another;
b) conflict of interest issues may arise in evaluating a student or employee;
c) there is a strong potential for retaliation when the relationship ends;
d) a third party may allege favoritism;
e) they undermine the professional interaction upon which faculty-student/supervisor-subordinate relationships should be based.
When a consensual relationship ends, there is the potential for a professor or supervisor in the relationship to threaten the student with a bad grade or the employee with a poor evaluation. This would be sexual harassment. The college administration warns that should a sexual harassment claim be filed, a faculty member or supervisor would find it difficult to claim innocence in the case of a relationship that was consensual.
This statement will also be a part of the college's General Harassment Policy (No. 40) upon its revision.