Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships


In General: There are special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship between individuals in inherently unequal positions of authority. At Gettysburg College, such positions include (but are not limited to) teacher and student, supervisor and employee, senior faculty and junior faculty, advisor and advisee, coach and athlete, and the individuals who supervise the day-to-day student living environment and student residents. Because of the potential for conflict of interest, exploitation, favoritism, and bias, such relationships may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and/or the evaluation provided by those in authority, particularly in the teacher-student context. These relationships may be less consensual than the individual whose position confers power or authority believes. The relationship is likely to be perceived in different ways by each of the parties involved, especially in retrospect.

Moreover, such relationships may harm or injure others in the academic or work environment. Relationships in which one party is in a position to review the work or influence the career of the other may provide grounds for complaint by third parties when that relationship gives undue access or advantage, restricts opportunities, or creates a perception of these problems. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic involvement, this past consent does not remove grounds for a charge based upon subsequent unwelcome conduct.

With Students: It is a violation of College policy and strictly prohibited for a faculty, administrator, or support staff member to engage in an amorous, dating, or a sexual relationship with a currently enrolled Gettysburg College student except in the case of a relationship that begins before either the employee is employed by the College, or the student first enrolls at the College. Any faculty, administrator, or support staff member who is in such a pre-existing relationship with a student must disclose the relationship to the appropriate College official. In the case of an administrator or support staff member, disclosures must be made to Co-Director of Human Resources, and faculty members must disclose the relationship to the Provost. After one year of service, spouses and domestic partners of Gettysburg College employees are eligible for tuition benefits at the College. This policy does not intend to alter this benefit; therefore, relationships with non-traditional students who are taking classes at Gettysburg College as a part of the employee tuition benefit are permitted.

With other employees: Amorous, dating, or sexual relationships between faculty, administrators, or support staff members are impermissible when the faculty, administrator, or support staff member has supervisory or evaluative responsibility for the other individual. It is a violation of College policy for a faculty, administrator, or support staff member to engage in an amorous, dating, or sexual relationship with a faculty member, support staff member, or administrator whom he/she evaluates, supervises, or over whom he/she can exercise employment authority in any way.

The College upholds that sexual or romantic relationships between faculty, administrators, or support staff members employed within the same department, even when consensual, and whether or not the faculty, administrator, or support staff members would otherwise be subject to supervision or evaluation by the faculty, administrator, or support staff member, is inconsistent with the proper role of the faculty, administrator, or support staff member, and should be avoided. Therefore, Gettysburg College strongly discourages such relationships.

Where such a relationship exists by virtue of marriage or partnership within the same department, the person in the position of greater authority or power will bear the primary burden of accountability, and must ensure that he or she does not exercise any supervisory or evaluative function over the other person in the relationship. Recusal is required and the recusing party must also notify his or her supervisor, department chair or dean in writing, so that such chair, dean, or supervisor can exercise his or her responsibility to evaluate the adequacy of the alternative supervisory or evaluative arrangements to be implemented. The chair, dean, or supervisor must utilize the alternative supervisory or evaluative arrangement. Administrators and support staff members must notify the Human Resources and Risk Management Office in writing when recusal is required. Faculty members must notify the Provost’s Office in writing when recusal is required.

Responsibility: The Provost’s Office will respond to issues arising from this policy involving faculty members. The Human Resources and Risk Management Office will respond to issues arising from this policy involving administrators or support staff members.