Unequal Consensual Relationships Policy

Purpose

To prevent actual or apparent favoritism, bias, coercion, exploitation, conflicts of interest, and other problems arising from romantic or sexual relationships (a) between Lesley students and Lesley employees and (b) between members of the Lesley University community who are in supervisory relationships.

Scope

Lesley University Community

Policy Statement

Because of the inherent risk of impropriety or harm, Lesley University prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between students and employees (including faculty). This includes relationships that occur when the University is not in session or the employee or student is on leave.  Examples include, but are not limited to, relationships between:

  1. Faculty and student
  2. Adjunct faculty and student
  3. Teaching assistant and student

Lesley also prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between members of the Lesley community when one of those individuals has an advisory, supervisory, or managerial responsibility over the other (collectively, “supervisory relationships,” defined below).

    • Definition of Supervisory Relationship

      For the purpose of this policy, a “supervisory relationship” is defined broadly.  “Supervisor” in a supervisory relationship is defined as the individual who has an educational, advisory, or managerial responsibility over the other.  Supervisory relationships include, but are not limited to, 

      1. manager and report, direct or indirect  
      2. faculty member and faculty member
      3. adviser and advisee
      4. counselor or health professional and patient
      5. coach and student athlete
      6. student resident and individuals who supervise the student living environment
      7. student and individuals who participate with students on trips and excursions
      8. contractor and student
      9. contract employee and student
      10. vendor and student
      11. purchaser and vendor

      These examples are illustrative and not exclusive. Supervisory relationships may be formal or informal.

    • Pre-Existing Relationships

      If an individual with a pre-existing romantic or sexual relationship joins the Lesley community, and one of the people in the relationship is a student, each person must notify his or her Dean or Vice President immediately. The Dean or Vice President, in consultation with the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Coordinator (the “Coordinator”), will take steps the Dean or Vice President and the Coordinator deem necessary or desirable to minimize the impact on the student’s educational experience at Lesley. The steps can range from no action, to the recusal of the employee or faculty member from matters involving the student, to changes in the employee’s or faculty member’s job requirements, teaching, advising, service, or other duties. Failure to comply with this disclosure requirement is a violation of this policy and grounds for appropriate corrective action, up to and including dismissal from employment with the University.

      New employees with pre-existing relationships with current employees should notify the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and refer to Section 3.15 of the Employee Handbook.

    • Reporting an Incident

      Report an Incident to these Lesley University officers:   

      Dr. Anita Poole-Endsley
      Equal Opportunity & Title IX Coordinator
      29 Everett Street
      Cambridge, MA 02138
      617.349.8809
      Email: apooleen@lesley.edu
      Email: equalopportunity@lesley.edu

      Ms. Michelle Polowchak
      Associate Vice President of Human Resources
      29 Everett Street
      Cambridge MA 02138
      617 349-8785
      Email: michelle.polowchak@lesley.edu 
      Email: hr@lesley.edu

      These officers were selected to provide all members of the Lesley community with the opportunity to initiate a complaint in a place in which they feel comfortable doing so. If the complaint is against one of these officers, the complaint may be initiated with the other officer.   

       

    • Manager Responsibility

      Any manager who receives a complaint or otherwise learns of a relationship prohibited by this policy must immediately contact one of the three University officers listed above. 

      A manager’s failure to promptly report a relationship prohibited by this policy may warrant disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment at the University. A manager’s failure to report may also lead to personal liability under law.


    • Employee and Student Responsibility

      Everyone at Lesley University has the responsibility to assure that romantic or sexual relationships between individuals in unequal positions do not occur in our environment. The potential for actual or apparent favoritism, bias, coercion, exploitation, conflicts of interest, and other problems exist in these kinds of relationships. Furthermore, the relationship may be less consensual and perceived in a different way by each of the parties to it. Moreover, these types of relationships can have a negative impact on other members of the Lesley community.

      Lesley University expects members of our community to avoid any behavior that could reasonably be interpreted as a violation of this policy and to immediately report any suspected violations.

      Employees have additional responsibilities. In situations where two employees in a direct reporting line become romantically or sexually involved, both parties are required to disclose their relationship to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources. One of the individuals will be required to move to a different supervisory line within thirty (30) days of the disclosure. Failure to comply with this disclosure requirement is a violation of this policy and grounds for appropriate corrective action, up to and including dismissal from employment with the University.


    • Reporting a Violation of this Policy

      Reports of a violation of this policy should be submitted verbally or in writing and can be made to anyone in a managerial position, e.g. Chair, Deans, Division Director, Director, or Vice President, or specifically to one of the University officers listed above. 

       


    • Investigation of Complaints

      Lesley University will promptly and fairly investigate all reports of relationships that may violate this policy and will do so in accordance with Lesley University’s Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedures.

    • Protection Against Retaliation

      Lesley strictly prohibits any form of retaliation against a student or employee who in good faith submits a report of a possible violation of this policy or who cooperates in the investigation of a report.

    • Confidentiality

      Reasonable efforts are to be made to protect the privacy and confidences of all parties during the investigation without compromising the thoroughness of the investigation or fairness to the parties, and consistent with and subject to the University’s need to investigate the complaint and/or implement any corrective action.

    • Corrective Action

      Every report of a violation of this policy will be investigated and corrective action will be taken where appropriate. Any such action can lead to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University educational programs or dismissal from employment with the University.

    • Duty of Good Faith

      Lesley University prohibits any member of the Lesley community from knowingly or recklessly bringing a false complaint against another member of the Lesley community. 

    Lesley University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer. The foregoing Unequal Consensual Relationship Policy is designed to enhance access to and understanding of Lesley’s policies and is not intended to create a contract between Lesley and its employees or other persons. Lesley reserves the right to amend or revoke its policies at any time without notice. 

    Approved by

    Presiden, Richard S. Hansen

    History

    Revised - June 1, 2009
    Revised - January 18, 2011
    Revised – May 18, 2012
    Revised – July 7, 2014
    Revised – May 31, 2019

    Responsible Official

    Associate Vice President of Human Resources