It is improper for a faculty member, instructional assistant, or other University employee to participate in the instruction, evaluation, or supervision of a student with whom there is an amorous relationship or familial relationship. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary procedures.
This policy sets forth the responsibilities of all members of the faculty and all other employees of UNC Charlotte with respect to establishing personal relationships with students. It applies to all full- and part-time faculty (tenure and non-tenure track), lecturers, and graduate and undergraduate assistants, and all other employees.
A. Central to the educational mission of the University is the establishment of close working relationships between those who teach and those who learn. Although such relationships are encouraged, it is improper and professionally unethical for a faculty member, instructional assistant, or other University employee to participate in the instruction, evaluation, or supervision of a student with whom there is an amorous relationship or familial relationship.
In this policy, to evaluate or supervise means:
In this policy, an amorous relationship exists when, without benefit of marriage, two persons as consenting partners (1) have a sexual union or (2) engage in romantic partnering or courtship that may or may not have been consummated sexually. A familial relationship exists when two persons are related by blood, law, or marriage in any of the following ways:
Such amorous or familial relationships may compromise instruction, evaluation, or supervision, and thus may appear to create a conflict of interest for the faculty, instructional assistant or other employee involved. Such relationships are thus contrary to the interests of the University, its faculty and students, and the public which it serves.
B. It is misconduct, subject to disciplinary action, for a University employee to engage in sexual activity with any enrolled student of the institution, other than his or her spouse, who is a minor below the age of 18.
The University values and respects the privacy of its students, faculty, and other employees, but it is improper and professionally unethical for a University faculty member, instructional assistant, or other employee to simultaneously maintain an amorous or familial relationship with a student, and have direct professional responsibility for that student; one of the relationships must be terminated. If the employee's professional responsibility for a student is terminated, it must be done in such a way as not to compromise the student's progress toward the completion of his or her academic program. It is also improper and professionally unethical for a faculty member, instructional assistant, or other employee to fail to withdraw from participating in activities or decisions that may reward or penalize a student with whom the employee has an amorous or familial relationship.
II. Implementation Procedure
Essential to the implementation of this policy is avoidance of situations that may result in potential or actual conflicts of interest. Accordingly, it is important for members of the University community to be made aware of their responsibilities under the policy. Such awareness will be promoted by publication of the policy in the Catalog and in the Faculty Handbook, and distribution in faculty and student orientation sessions.
Whenever a situation creates or appears to create a conflict of interest under the policy, the faculty member or other employee concerned shall report it promptly to his or her department head, department chair or, in the case of the chair, to the dean. The head, chair or dean should take immediate and effective action to ensure that the faculty or staff member will no longer participate in the evaluation or supervision of the student concerned and that there will be unconflicted evaluation or supervision of the student without compromising the student's progress toward the completion of his or her academic program. Evaluative/supervisory situations that may need attention include, but are not limited to: faculty involvement in the evaluation of academic performance; service on committees for academic awards and prizes for which the student may be considered; thesis supervision; and supervision of research and teaching assistants. Deans should be kept fully informed by chairs with respect to actions taken in response to self-reported conflicts of interest under this policy.
A member of the University community who believes that this policy governing employee-student relationships has been violated may initiate a complaint through the appropriate department head, department chair, the dean, or the vice chancellor of the division in which the University employee involved in the relationship is employed. In the balance of the policy, that vice chancellor is referred to as the "Administrator." Complaints filed with chairs or deans will be forwarded to the Administrator promptly for formal action.
In those cases in which the Administrator makes a determination under Section 5.a. that the complaint was frivolous or malicious, all records pertaining to the inquiry will be destroyed except where necessary to proceed with disciplinary action based upon a frivolous or malicious complaint. In all other cases, records will be forwarded by the Administrator to be held in confidence by the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Compliance Officer for future reference by the Administrator in the event that additional complaints are filed concerning possible violations of this policy. The accused faculty or staff member will receive a copy of the Administrator's final report and any other documentation which will be maintained in the official personnel file.
Initially approved December 9, 1994
Revised December 8, 1995
Revised June 7, 1996