This policy highlights the risks in sexual or romantic relationships at Whittier College between individuals in inherently unequal positions; prohibits certain relationships between employees, and students; and requires recusal (from supervision and evaluation) and notification in other relationships.
There are special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship between individuals in inherently unequal positions, and parties in such a relationship assume those risks. Unequal relationships include:
- Supervisor and employee
- Employee and student
- Faculty or Staff Member and administrative assistant
Note - if a faculty member serves as a coach for an athletic team, whether voluntary or paid, he or she must adhere to the Policy on Sexual or Romantic Relationships for Coaches as well.
Because of the potential for conflict of interest, exploitation, favoritism, and bias, such relationships may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and evaluation provided. Further, these relationships are often less consensual than the individual whose position confers power or authority believes. In addition, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcomed may become unwelcomed. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a sexual or romantic involvement, this past consent does not remove grounds for a charge based upon subsequent unwelcomed conduct.
Such relationships may also have unintended, adverse effects on the climate of the campus, thereby impairing the environment for others – both during such a relationship and after any break-up. Relationships in which one party is in a position to evaluate the work or influence the career of the other may provide grounds for complaint by third parties when that relationship gives undue access or advantage, restricts opportunities, or simply creates a perception of these problems.
For all of these reasons, sexual or romantic relationships – whether regarded as consensual or otherwise – between individuals in inherently unequal positions as listed in this policy are strictly prohibited.
Where such a relationship develops, the person in the position of greater authority or power must recuse him/herself to ensure that he/she does not exercise any supervisory or evaluative function over the other person in the relationship. Where such recusal is required, the recusing party must also notify his/her supervisor, and Title IX Deputy Coordinator so that person can ensure adequate alternative supervisory or evaluative arrangements are put in place. Such notification is always required where recusal is required. Failure to disclose the relationship in a timely fashion will itself be considered a violation of policy. The College has the option to take any action necessary to insure compliance with the spirit of this policy, up to and including dismissal/termination of employment.
If there is any doubt whether a relationship falls within this policy, individuals should disclose the facts and seek guidance rather than fail to disclose. Questions may be addressed to the Vice President of Academic Affairs or the Title IX Deputy Coordinator listed in this policy.
Those who engage in sexual or romantic relationships contrary to the guidance, prohibitions, and requirements provided in the policy are subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal/termination, depending on the nature of and context for the violation. They will also be held accountable for any adverse consequences that result from those relationships.
Policy on Housing and Living Arrangements between Employees and Students
Employees are strictly prohibited from allowing students (who are not their immediate family, and who have not registered with the College as such), to spend the night in their homes; share rooms while on trips/conferences; share accommodations for any reason; or occupy the same living space.
Those who engage in living arrangements or visitations contrary to the guidance, prohibitions, and requirements provided in the policy are subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal/termination, depending on the nature of and context for the violation. They will also be held accountable for any adverse consequences that result from those visitations/living arrangements.