Policy on Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationships between Faculty and Students
For the purposes of this policy, the term “faculty,” “faculty member,” or “teaching faculty” refers to all those who teach and/or do research at the University including (but not limited to) tenured and tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty, part-time instructors, lecturers, holders of research appointments, graduate students with teaching responsibilities, visiting faculty, and advisors.
The term “student” refers to a person enrolled at Kent State University in any capacity, including (but not limited to) full-time or part-time; undergraduate or graduate; for-credit or not-for-credit; or degree or non-degree.
Policy (The anthropology faculty voted unanimously in favor of this policy Dec. 7, 2015)
The Department’s educational mission is promoted by professionalism in faculty/student relationships, and professionalism is fostered by an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Actions of faculty members and students that harm this atmosphere—which occurs when those in positions of authority abuse or appear to abuse their authority—undermine professionalism and hinder fulfillment of the Department’s educational mission.
The Department strongly believes that a romantic and/or sexual relationship between a student and a faculty member—even if such a relationship is claimed to be consensual by one or both parties—undermines the Department’s academic mission and must be avoided. In addition, the Department imposes the following formal restrictions:
Romantic and/or sexual relationships, and the pursuit thereof, between faculty members and graduate or undergraduate students are entirely prohibited whenever the faculty member has direct professional responsibility for or any authority over the student. Positions of professional responsibility or authority include course instructor; formal advisor; independent study director; internship coordinator; dissertation, MA, or Honors Thesis committee member; MA or PhD Advisory Committee member; Graduate or Undergraduate Coordinator; TA/RA supervisor; or similar formal hierarchical relationship.
Furthermore, no faculty member may pressure, cajole, or otherwise coerce a student to avoid a hierarchical professional relationship (e.g., to avoid taking a faculty member’s course) in order to engage in a romantic and/or sexual relationship.
Finally, while the Department does not expressly forbid them, romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty and graduate or undergraduate students at Kent State are also discouraged even when no clear professional or hierarchical relationship between the faculty and student exists.
Failure to comply with this policy may result in discipline or dismissal according to the rules appropriate to the individuals involved, regardless of tenure status. One or more faculty and/or students may, at any time, report violations of this policy to any responsible party (Chair, FAC, Dean's Office). Upon such notification, the chair will request that the Faculty Senate Ethics Committee (FSEC) initiate an investigation of charges. Upon completion of that investigation the Committee will notify the Dean, Chair, and departmental FAC of its findings. In the event of a finding of inappropriate behavior, as defined above, appropriate sanctions will be applied by the Dean. The timing and extent of such sanctions should vary in proportion to the violations, but could constitute a negation of tenure.