4.11 Improper Sexual or Romantic Relationships Policy
Central Piedmont Community College employees are supported in carrying out the mission of the College through an atmosphere of professionalism, academic integrity, trust, and respect. This atmosphere is diminished when those in positions of power abuse their power, or when relationships occur outside of the administrative or instructional context. Actions of faculty members, supervising administrators, other employees, or students which harm the College's atmosphere of trust and respect undermine professionalism, damage the academic integrity of the College, and hinder the fulfillment of the College's educational mission.
It is also true that improper, amorous, or sexual relationships can cloud judgment and create expectations between and beyond the parties involved. Concerns about a lack of professional judgment around evaluations, giving undue advantage, objectivity, professional, or educational recommendations, conflict of interest, and other decision-making activities cause conflict beyond the relationship that spills over to the classroom and/or workplace. Further, voluntary consent of actions is difficult to establish viz expectations when power is exerted over another, when sexual favors are implied or granted, or when one obtains inappropriate benefits contingent upon an amorous relationship.
Relationships between faculty members and students, and between supervising administrators and employees they advise, counsel, supervise, or evaluate, impose a special burden of responsibility and accountability. The same is true for clerical, support, maintenance, technical/paraprofessional, and professional staff, students, and administrators when acting in an advisory, counseling, instructional, supervisory, or evaluative role with respect to students or employees. There are substantial risks for faculty members engaging in sexual, amorous, or romantic relationships with students they teach; or, in the case of supervising administrators, with employees they supervise or evaluate.
A. Faculty Member
Any person employed by, or whose activities are supervised by, the College, and who engages in advisory, counseling, instructional, or evaluative activities relative to any student who is enrolled in a course or program taught by that individual, or whose academic work is being supervised or evaluated by that individual. Students and non-faculty employees, when performing official College advisory, counseling, instructional, or evaluative roles with respect to students, are considered faculty for the purpose of this policy.
B. Supervising Administrator
All individuals who have responsibility for specific employees and their activities and who are classified as management. These specifically include the president, vice presidents, deans, managers, associate deans, supervising administrators, coordinators, and all other supervisors. Non-administrative and classified employees, when performing assigned advisory, counseling, supervisory, or evaluative roles with respect to other employees, are considered supervising administrators for the purpose of this policy.
C. Improper Sexual, Amorous, or Romantic Relationships
Any sexual, amorous, or romantic relationship between a faculty member or employee who engages in advisory, counseling, instructional, or evaluative activities; and, any student who is enrolled in a course or program taught by that person, or whose academic work is being supervised or evaluated by that person; any sexual, amorous, or romantic relationship between a supervising administrator and someone the supervising administrator advises, counsels, evaluates, or directly or indirectly supervises in any way; and any sexual, amorous, or romantic relationship between any College employee and any student or employee.
No faculty member or supervising administrator shall initiate, pursue, or be involved in an improper sexual, amorous, or romantic relationship with any employee or student who is advised, counseled, evaluated by, or supervised directly or indirectly, or whose job performance is reviewed or evaluated by that person. The same is true for clerical, support, maintenance, technical, paraprofessional, and professional staff, students, and administrators when acting in an advisory, counseling, instructional, supervisory, or evaluative role with respect to students or employees supervised directly or indirectly by that person. However, in accordance with Policy 4.16 Sexual Misconduct, some forms of harassment may also violate the College’s policy against Sexual Misconduct under Title IX. When a report of harassment is received, the Title IX coordinator will determine whether it shall proceed under this policy or the Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures.
Friendships or mentoring relationships are not affected by this policy, nor is it the intent of this policy that such non-romantic relationships be discouraged or limited in any way. Marital relationships are covered under the College’s policy concerning Employment of Relatives.
IV. Disciplinary Action
Central Piedmont Community College will not tolerate improper sexual, amorous, or romantic relationships, nor will it tolerate any form of retaliation against any employee or student who has brought good faith concerns to the attention of the College or who has properly participated in the investigation or resolution of such concerns. A faculty member, supervising administrator, or other employee acting in an advisory, counseling, supervisory, or evaluative role with respect to employees or students who is involved in any retaliatory activity will be deemed to have engaged in serious misconduct as defined in Central Piedmont Policies and will be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal. While disciplinary action taken against an employee or faculty member as a result of a complaint may be the subject of a grievance under Policy 1.30 Conflict Resolution, the Executive Director’s investigatory conclusions, or lack of conclusions, shall not be subject to the grievance process.
The College recognizes that romantic relationships may develop between employees or faculty members that, if undisclosed, would lead to situations in violation of this policy. In such circumstances, the College encourages the employees or faculty members involved in such a relationship to disclose its existence to the Executive Director and the Director of Human Resources or designee. In circumstances where such early, voluntary disclosure is made, the College has the option of waiving the investigation and disciplinary procedures contained in this policy and addressing the new relationship through other means, including reassignment. While no right of reassignment or continuing employment of one or both parties to the relationship is guaranteed, the College will, when appropriate, seek a resolution where no violation of this policy would result. This option is not available in the event of any improper sexual or romantic relationship involving a student.
Approved by the Board of Trustees on May 6, 1998; May 6, 2020
Changes approved by Cabinet on January 25, 2005; August 10, 2015
Added to Section 7 by Cabinet on June 5, 2006