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330.065 Consensual Romantic Relationship Policy

Bd. Min. 12-15-06; Revised 6-19-14; Amended 2-9-17; Amended 4-22-21.

  1. Definitions:
    1. Consensual Romantic Relationships: For purposes of this policy, consensual romantic relationships exist when individuals mutually and consensually understand a relationship to be romantic, intimate and/or sexual in nature, whether casual or serious, short-term or long-term, past or present.
    2. Evaluative or Supervisory Authority: Evaluative or supervisory authority exists when one participant is personally involved in teaching, mentoring or advising, supervising, evaluating, assessing, grading, or otherwise determining or making recommendations relating to another participant’s conduct or academic or employment performance, progress or potential.
  2. Statement of Principles
    1. The University of Missouri promotes an atmosphere of professionalism based on mutual trust and respect. The integrity of interaction among faculty, staff and students must not be compromised.
    2. When individuals involved in a consensual romantic relationship are in positions of unequal power at the university, there is a potential for a conflict of interest, favoritism, or exploitation.
    3. These relationships may be less voluntary than the person with greater power perceives, or circumstances may change and conduct that was once welcome may become unwelcome.
    4. The fact that a relationship was initially consensual does not insulate from a later claim of sexual harassment. Moreover, such relationships may lead to restricted opportunities, or the perception thereof, for others in the work or academic environment.
    5. In cases in which a consensual romantic relationship does not violate the provisions outlined in Section C, faculty, staff and students should be sensitive to the continuous possibility that they may be placed in a position of responsibility for another member of the University community’s evaluation and/or supervision in the future.
  3. Policies: In light of the foregoing, and to protect the integrity of the University academic and work environment, the University adopts the following policies with respect to consensual romantic relationships:
    1. Consensual romantic relationships between members of the University community are prohibited when one participant has evaluative or supervisory authority over the other. Such prohibited relationships include supervisory relationships between an employee (faculty, staff or student) and a student, as well as between a supervisor (faculty, staff or student) and a subordinate.
    2. Consensual romantic relationships between any undergraduate student and faculty and staff are prohibited, except as described below in Section D.2. Consensual romantic relationships between undergraduate students and graduate students are permitted so long as it does not violate Section C.1.
    3. These policies extend to previous relationships. All faculty, staff or students previously engaged in a consensual romantic relationship with another faculty member, staff member or student are prohibited from exercising evaluative or supervisory authority over said person.
  4. Exceptions and Reporting
    1. Faculty, staff and students may request an exception, and each will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For an exception to be appropriate, there must be adequate assurance that (a) the student is protected from potential adverse effects on the learning environment and (b) that any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest are appropriately managed.
    2. A request for an exception must be made to the appropriate dean, vice chancellor, vice president or similar level of leadership.
    3. After consultation with the University’s campus-level Chief Human Resources Officer or designee in the Human Resources Department, the appropriate dean, vice chancellor, vice president or similar level of leadership will determine whether the relationship violates the policy and, if so, if an exception is appropriate. If an exception is appropriate, a management plan will be implemented in consultation with Human Resources and the involved parties and should be provided in writing and acknowledged by the participating faculty and/or staff member(s). For employees, a record of the plan will be maintained in each employee’s personnel file.
    4. If an exception is denied, the consensual romantic relationship will be in violation of this policy unless it is discontinued. The relevant parties may seek review of the denial of the exception by submitting a written request to the Provost or designee within 5 days of being notified. For good cause, the Provost may grant reasonable extensions of time to seek review of the denial. The Provost or designee will approve, deny, or modify the exception. The determination of the Provost or designee is final and not subject to further review under University grievance procedures. If circumstances leading to the denial change, the relevant parties may submit another exception request.
    5. Examples of situations in which an exception might be appropriate include but are not limited to:
      1. A consensual romantic relationship with an undergraduate student precedes the individual’s status as a student at the University (e.g., a faculty or staff member and an undergraduate student have been in an established relationship [e.g., marriage], and the student subsequently enrolls as an undergraduate at the University);
      2. A consensual romantic relationship existed under the prior version of this rule that either did not require disclosure or was appropriately disclosed and managed, but upon the effective date of the revised rule, the consensual romantic relationship is prohibited.
    6. Faculty, staff and students who believe in good faith that a violation of the foregoing policy has occurred are encouraged to promptly report the violation to the University, which will promptly investigate and appropriately resolve all such reports. Students or employees who believe such a violation has occurred may:
      1. Report the perceived violation to an appropriate dean, vice chancellor, vice president or similar level of leadership;
      2. In the event the reporting party believes someone has been discriminated against based on the individual’s sex, file a report with the appropriate Title IX Coordinator.
  5. Violations
    1. Violations of this policy, defined as a failure to address the existing or potential conflict of interest, regardless of the manner in which it is brought to the attention of the University, may lead to disciplinary action as appropriate, up to and including termination of employment, following appropriate processes for such discipline.

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