Home >> Classified Employee Handbook >> Sexual Harassment Policy >> Consenting Relationships

Consenting Relationships

Taking note of the “respect and trust accorded a professor by a student, as well as the power exercised by the professor,” Southern Polytechnic’s policy is that a relationship between a faculty member and a student should be considered one of professional and client in which sexual relationships are inappropriate. The power differential inherent in such relationships, as well as in those between a supervisor and an employee, compromise the subordinate’s ability to freely decide.

Although policy does not specifically forbid sexual relationships between individuals where a professional power differential exists, the University discourages consenting sexual relationship between faculty and student or supervisor and employee. A faculty member who enters into a sexual relationship with a student (or a supervisor with an employee) must realize that if a charge of sexual harassment is subsequently lodged, it will be difficult to prove immunity on grounds of mutual consent.

Relationships between a graduate student and an undergraduate when the graduate student has some supervisory responsibility for the undergraduate are included in this category. Among other relationships included are those between a student or employee and an administrator, coach, adviser, program director, counselor, or residential staff member who has supervisory responsibility for that student or employee.