UC Santa Cruz Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office


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UCSC Policies and Procedures

Sex Offense Policy


Appendix C: Consensual Relations

Information on consensual relations between students and faculty, lecturers, instructors, teaching assistants, tutors etc.

Every member of our community should also be aware that there are special considerations for relationships between instructors and students currently enrolled in their classes or academic programs.  Because of the power possessed by an instructor and the special need for trust inherent in the teacher/student relationship, a romantic or sexual advance by an instructor to a student in her/his class or academic program may seriously compromise that relationship and may therefore be presumed to be professional misconduct.  The Academic Senate resolved in 1987 that even a single, mutually welcomed advance of an explicit romantic or sexual nature from an instructor to a student currently enrolled in her or his course must be regarded by the academic community as a serious breach of professional ethics and proper standards of professional behavior.  Such an overture can impair the educational environment not only for the instructor and the student singled out for her or his attentions, but also for the other students enrolled in the course, who are, or believe themselves to be, negatively affected by the relationship, in ways such as unacceptable discrimination regarding grading, references, access to laboratory equipment or other resources and educational opportunities.  Such advances may also provide the basis for charges of unprofessional conduct in violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct, sexual harassment, and/or discrimination.  It shall be UC Santa Cruz' policy that this prohibition applies to anyone in an academic relationship with a student: ladder-rank faculty, lecturers, teaching assistants, tutors, etc.

Two sections added to Academic Personnel Policy 015 (Faculty Code of Conduct (Code) Part II.A) make it a violation of the Code for a faculty member to engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student for whom he or she has academic responsibility or should expect to have such responsibility.  The amendment was adopted by the UC Privilege & Tenure Committee and endorsed unanimously by the Academic Council during winter 2003.  In the spring of 2003 the amendment was adopted by the UC Board of Regents and approved by the President.

The Faculty Code of Conduct applies to all Senate and non-exclusively represented, non-Senate faculty members.  In addition, Part II, Section A, “Teaching and Students” of the Code, including these two sections, also applies to Unit 18 non-Senate faculty (e.g., Lecturers) pursuant to Article 3 – Academic Responsibility, of the newly ratified UC/UC-AFT Memorandum of Understanding.  Article 3 of the Memorandum of Understanding is available online at http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/employees/policies/systemwide_contracts/nsi/article03.pdf.

The Faculty Code of Conduct may be found online at:http://www.ucop.edu/acadadv/acadpers/apm/apm-015.pdf


The amendment in the Code states:

Part II - Professional Responsibilities, Ethical Principles, and Unacceptable Faculty Conduct

A. Teaching and Students

... The integrity of the faculty-student relationship is the foundation of the University's educational mission.  This relationship vests considerable trust in the faculty member, who, in turn, bears authority and accountability as mentor, educator, and evaluator.  The unequal institutional power inherent in this relationship heightens the vulnerability of the student and the potential for coercion.  The pedagogical relationship between faculty member and student must be protected from influences or activities that can interfere with learning consistent with the goals and ideals of the University.  Whenever a faculty member is responsible for academic supervision of a student, a personal relationship between them of a romantic or sexual nature, even if consensual, is inappropriate.  Any such relationship jeopardizes the integrity of the educational process.

In this section, the term student refers to all individuals under the academic supervision of faculty.

Types of unacceptable conduct: (New sections)

6. Entering into a romantic or sexual relationship with any student for whom a faculty member has, or should reasonably expect to have in the future, academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory).

7. Exercising academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory) for any student with whom a faculty member has a romantic or sexual relationship.

The footnote found in the Code in section six (6) states:  A faculty member should reasonably expect to have in the future academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory) for (1) students whose academic program will require them to enroll in a course taught by the faculty member, (2) students known to the faculty member to have an interest in an academic area within the faculty member's academic expertise, or (3) any student for whom a faculty member must have academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory) in the pursuit of a degree.

In addition, the report by the Academic Council on the amendment (available online at: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/senate/assembly/may2003/may2003viia5.pdf) gives examples of when a faculty member "should reasonably expect to have (academic responsibility over a student) in the future…” Those examples include faculty teaching a course required of all majors, all graduate or undergraduate students in the major, all graduate students in the department, and faculty who are specialists in an area known to the faculty member to be of interest to the student.

 

 

 

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Contact Rita Walker , Title IX Officer: 105 Kerr Hall . email: rew@ucsc.edu . phone 831.459.2462 * 831.459.4825