An individual may not initiate or participate in institutional decisions involving a direct benefit or penalty to someone with whom that individual has had a sexual relationship.
Relationships such as those between supervisors and their subordinate employees are inherently asymmetric. Current or past sexual relationships can adversely affect decisions, distort judgments, and undermine morale. Any university employee who participates in academic supervisory or administrative decisions concerning another employee with whom he or she has or has had a sexual relationship has a conflict of interest in these situations.
Accordingly, no individual shall initiate or participate in institutional decisions involving a direct benefit or penalty (employment, retention, promotion, tenure, salary, leave of absence, etc.) to a person with whom that individual has or has had a sexual relationship. He or she must take specific actions to remove himself or herself from all decisions and actions that may influence the career or status of the other employee.
It is the obligation of staff members to call attention to situations in which they could be in violation of this policy and to remove themselves from initiating or participating in any institutional decisions involving a direct benefit to an individual covered by this policy. It is the responsibility of each Unit Executive Officer (UEO) to review all situations involving the conflicts of interests in supervisory relationships to assure compliance with this policy and to resolve any conflicts. This responsibility includes addressing both potential and actual conflicts that are identified by employee self-report or by other means.
In cases where a conflict is identified, the UEO must develop a Supervisory Relationship Management Plan that redirects decision-making and bypasses involved parties. Such procedures must be agreed to in writing and approved through all administrative levels. For changes in existing positions that might create a supervisory relationship in the same unit, review and approval is also required.
Due to the institutional power difference between student employees and academic staff, maintaining the working relationship by bypassing involved parties may not be appropriate or permissible.
In all cases, approval must be obtained from the appropriate human resources office:
- Plans involving members of the academic staff (faculty, academic professional, academic hourly) must be reviewed and approved by Academic Human Resources.
- Plans involving graduate student employees and graduate hourly employees must be reviewed and approved by Academic Human Resources in consultation with the Graduate College.
- Plans involving undergraduate student employees must be reviewed and approved by Academic Human Resources in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Students.
- Plans involving staff personnel must be reviewed and approved by Staff Human Resources.
- In cases involving an interaction between areas of responsibility, these offices will act jointly.
The appropriate human resources office will conduct periodic compliance reviews. Failure to abide by this policy constitutes misconduct, subject to discipline under applicable University procedures.
Employees and their units should be aware of the following related policies:
- Employment of Relatives, Campus Administrative Manual, Employment of Relatives.
- Addressing Discrimination and Harassment, Campus Administrative Manual, Addressing Discrimination and Harassment.
- Sexual Harassment, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Article 1-109, Student Code.
Office Contact Information
Academic Human Resources, (217) 333-6747
Staff Human Resources, (217) 333-3101