Amorous Relationships (III.A.1)
Volume III: Ethics
Chapter A: Conduct
Responsible Executive: Vice President for Ethics and Compliance
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance
Date Issued: January 1, 2009
Date Last Revised: June 1, 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Statement of Policy
Reason for This Policy
Individuals and Entities Affected by This Policy
Definitions (defined terms are capitalized throughout the document)
Related Documents, Forms and Tools
Website Address for This Policy
History and Updates
Vice President for Ethics and Compliance
Purdue University is committed to maintaining an environment in which learning, discovery and engagement take place in a professional atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. Amorous Relationships can develop within the University community between faculty, students and staff.
The disparity of power when an Amorous Relationship is between (1) a student and a faculty member, graduate teaching or research assistant, or any other University employee who has educational responsibility over the student, (2) a supervisor and subordinate, or (3) senior and junior colleagues in the same department or unit makes the individuals involved susceptible to exploitation. Amorous Relationships that occur in the context of Educational or Employment Supervision and Evaluation like those named above undermine professionalism and hinder the fulfillment of the University’s educational mission. Relationships between faculty and students are particularly susceptible to exploitation. The respect and trust accorded a member of the faculty by a student, as well as the power exercised by faculty in giving grades, approvals or recommendations for future study and employment, make voluntary consent by the student suspect.
Those who abuse their power in the context of an Amorous Relationship where there is Educational or Employment Supervision and Evaluation violate their duty to the University community. Voluntary consent by the student or subordinate in a romantic or sexual relationship is difficult to determine given the asymmetric nature of the power structure in the relationship. Because of the complex and subtle effects of the power differential in the relationship, the individual with power may perceive the existence of consent that may not exist or not exist at the level perceived by the individual with power. The possibility exists that, if the relationship sours, these individuals may be subject to a claim of sexual harassment.
Amorous Relationships may have an effect on others in the course, department or unit. Others may perceive that the student or subordinate in the Amorous Relationship is favored and afforded undue access and advantage above others in the same course, department or unit. These individuals may perceive the environment created as a result of the Amorous Relationship to be hostile and/or perceive forward progress and benefits are obtained through engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with the person in power.
Therefore, Purdue University prohibits Amorous Relationships between a student and any University employee who has educational responsibility over the student, and supervisors and subordinates where there is a supervisory or evaluative relationship between the parties.
Individuals engaged in an Amorous Relationship prior to the existence of a supervisory or evaluative relationship within the educational and/or employment context, or who find themselves entering into such a relationship, have a duty to report the existence of the Amorous Relationship to the department or unit head who must ensure that arrangements are made to sever the supervisory or evaluative relationship between the parties. The parties must further abide by the University’s policy on Nepotism (III.B.3). Individuals engaged in an Amorous Relationship in violation of this policy are subject to disciplinary action ranging from a written reprimand up to and including termination.
Purdue University is committed to maintaining an environment in which learning, discovery and engagement take place in a professional atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. Amorous Relationships that occur in the context of Educational or Employment Supervision and Evaluation undermine professionalism and are disruptive to the educational and work environment. Ultimately, Amorous Relationships hinder the fulfillment of the University’s educational mission.
All colleges, schools, departments, offices, units, faculty, staff and students are governed by this policy.
Vice President for Ethics and Compliance
- Interpretation and enforcement of this policy.
All defined terms are capitalized throughout the document. Additional defined terms may be found in the central Policy Glossary.
Romantic or sexual relationships between two individuals of the opposite or same sex who are not married to each other or in a domestic partnership with each other, and who mutually and consensually understand the relationship to be romantic and/or sexual in nature.
Educational or Employment Supervision and Evaluation
To (A) assess, determine or influence another person’s (1) academic or research performance, progress or potential, (2) employment performance, progress or potential, or (3) entitlement to or eligibility for any institutionally conferred right, benefit or opportunity; or (B) to oversee, manage or direct another person’s academic, research, employment, co-curricular, athletic or other institutionally prescribed activities.
Anti-Harassment (III.C.1): www.purdue.edu/policies/ethics/iiic1.html
Nepotism (III.B.3): www.purdue.edu/policies/ethics/iiib3.html
Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment: www.purdue.edu/ethics/resources/resolving-complaints.html
June 1, 2015: Policy reformatted into current template.
November 18, 2011: Policy number changed to III.A.1 (formerly IV.7.1).
July 22, 2011: Related Documents and Contacts sections updated.
January 1, 2009: This Policy supersedes the provision on amorous relationships previously contained in Executive Memorandum No. C-33, Antiharassment Policy, dated September 16, 1994.
There are no appendices to this policy.