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Consensual Relations

The integrity of the faculty-student relationship as well as the staff-student relationship is the foundation of DePauw's educational mission. These relationships vest considerable trust in the faculty or staff member, who, in turn, bears authority and accountability as mentor, educator, and evaluator. At DePauw, it is understood that faculty and staff begin and sustain friendships with students that can last a lifetime. The unequal institutional power in these relationships, however, heightens the vulnerability of the student and the potential for coercion. It is the faculty or staff member's responsibility to avoid any relationship which compromises either the student's enjoyment of the University experience or the faculty or staff member's ability to discharge the obligations of his/her employment at DePauw. In furtherance of this philosophy, DePauw prohibits sexual relationships between faculty and students, and between staff and students where the faculty or staff member has or will have a direct or indirect supervising, teaching, or evaluating relationship with the student regardless of whether the relationship is consensual.

If a complaint is initiated, even when both parties have consented to the development of such a relationship, it is the faculty or staff member, who, by virtue of his or her educational responsibility, will be held accountable for unprofessional behavior, and who is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment with the University, for violation of this policy.

Complaints will be handled according to the guidelines established for other harassment complaints, as described in this Handbook. (Established as University policy effective July 1, 1999)