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 Consensual Romantic Relationships Involving Students

Chapter 4094
Issued May 22, 2018

.010 Introduction

Kansas State University promotes an atmosphere of professionalism based on mutual trust and respect. The integrity of interaction among faculty, staff and students must not be compromised. When a University employee is in a position of direct supervisory or evaluative authority over a student, and the employee and student are also involved in a consensual romantic relationship, there is a potential for a conflict of interest, favoritism or exploitation. Moreover, such relationships may lead to restricted opportunities, or the perception thereof, for others in the academic environment.  In addition, when such relationships decline or end, there is an increased potential for various complaints.

Consensual romantic relationships between employees are governed by the University's Nepotism and Employee Relationships Policy (PPM 4095). The University's Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment (PPM 3010) governs any conduct involving nonconsensual, unwelcome sexual conduct by an individual in either the academic or employment environment, and any other conduct constituting discrimination, harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, as those terms are defined in that policy.

.020 Policy

To protect the integrity of the University academic environment, consensual romantic relationships between employees and students are prohibited when the employee has direct evaluative or supervisory authority over the student. In such instance when a relationship arises contrary to this policy, the employee shall immediately disclose the relationship to the employee's supervisor or department/unit head. The employee shall cooperate with the supervisor, in conjunction with department/unit head as necessary, to sever the evaluative or supervisory relationship and eliminate the existing or potential conflict of interest. A violation of this policy may lead to disciplinary action as appropriate, up to and including termination of employment.

Individuals who believe in good faith that this policy has been violated should report the violation to the employee's supervisor or other appropriate University official.

.030 Definitions

"Consensual romantic relationships" – means mutually understood consensual romantic or sexual relationships between individuals.

"Direct evaluative or supervisory authority" - When one participant in a consensual romantic relationship is personally involved in directly evaluating, grading, or otherwise assessing the other participant's academic performance, or making decisions that materially affect the participant's advancement in an academic program or participation in a University-sponsored program or activity.

.040 Statutes, Regulations and Policies

Kansas Board of Regents Policy and Procedures Manual, Chapter IIC.2.b.v.
PPM 4095:  Nepotism and Employee Relationships
PPM 3010:  Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment

.050 Questions concerning this policy should be addressed to the following offices:

Human Capital Services (HCS) is responsible for this policy. The Vice President or designee must approve any exception to this policy or related procedures. Questions should be directed to Human Capital Services, Employee Relations and Engagement (785) 532-6277 or hr@ksu.edu.

Questions may also be addressed to the Office of General Counsel, (785) 532-5730.