3.4.3. Consensual Relationship Policy

Oglethorpe University encourages the development of collegial and professional relationships among all members of the University community and is committed to a learning and working environment of civility and mutual respect. Faculty carry a special responsibility to adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards and to avoid any behavior that may appear to undermine this atmosphere of trust and respect and thereby hinder the institution’s educational mission.

The faculty-student relationship is one of trust in the University, and the faculty member has the professional responsibility for being a mentor, educator, and evaluator. Faculty-student romantic, dating, or sexual relationships, even if consensual, interfere with a student’s pursuit of learning and the integrity of the academic environment and are of special concern because of the potential for conflict of interest and/or abuse of power. These types of romantic, dating, or sexual relationships can undermine the fundamental educational purpose of the University and disrupt the workplace and academic environment.

Sexual relationships between faculty members and undergraduate students are inconsistent with the mission of the University and inappropriate because they carry a risk of damaging the student’s educational experience and the faculty member’s career.

The University thus prohibits sexual relationships, even of a consensual nature, between faculty members and currently enrolled students.

Faculty members are strongly advised to exercise their best professional judgment concerning student-faculty relationships and to consider that intimate relations with students, even of a non-sexual nature, can be fraught with difficulties and the appearance of impropriety.