Consensual dating policy

Note: This chapter is one of several that address conflicts of interest of various types at The University of Iowa.

Others include: II-18 Conflicts of Commitment and Interest, which addresses time conflicts, role conflicts in the workplace, and financial conflicts of interest; and III-8 Conflict of Interest in Employment (Nepotism), which addresses role conflicts when there is a direct reporting line between two employees.

See also II-18.7 Other University Policies Related to Conflict of Interest for a complete list of policies that address or are related to conflicts of interest.

The integrity of the University's educational mission is promoted by professionalism that derives from mutual trust and respect in instructor-student relationships.

The relationship is likely to be perceived in different ways by each of the parties to it, especially in retrospect.

Moreover, such relationships may harm or injure others in the academic or work environment.

However, the apparent consensual nature of the relationship is inherently suspect due to the fundamental asymmetry of power in the relationship and it thus may be difficult to establish consent as a defense to such a charge.This policy also applies to volunteers who teach, coach, evaluate, advise and supervise students at the university.“Student” means all individuals who receive instruction under the auspices of George Mason University, including but not limited to: “Professional Power Relationship” means a relationship between an employee and a student in which the employee may have authority to exercise decision-making authority regarding the student.Employees must be aware that sexual relationships with students have the potential for other adverse consequences, including the filing of a complaint alleging sexual harassment and/or retaliation under University Policy 1202 – Sexual Harassment and Misconduct.An employee who enters into a sexual relationship with a student where a professional power relationship exists must realize that if a charge of sexual harassment is subsequently lodged, a claim of mutual consent in the relationship may not be a sufficient defense. DEFINITIONS For the purposes of this policy only: “Employee” means any paid employee of the university.

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