Consensual Relations Policy
[Faculty Handbook Category #3]
Rationale and Definition
Consensual Relationship as that term is used in this policy is one in which two
members of the St. Olaf College
community are engaged by mutual consent in a romantic or sexual relationship.
When such a relationship involves people who differ in power within the College
community, it is of special concern because of the potential for conflict of
interest and/or abuse of power. Decisions that must be made free from bias or
favor may come under question when made by a person who may benefit from or be
harmed by the decisions. The mere appearance of bias resulting from a
Consensual Relationship may seriously disrupt the academic or work environment.
Equally important, such relationships have the potential to undermine our sense
of community, mutual trust, and support.
seeds of harassment and sexual harassment can exist in Consensual Relationships
of any kind that involve differences of status or power. For these reasons, St. Olaf
College has adopted the following
policy with respect to Consensual Relationships and places all employees on
notice that the College views Consensual Relationships between College
community members, especially when a power relationship exists, as unwise and
of a high risk, particularly when students are involved. Furthermore, should any legal claims arise
out of a consensual relationship between community members, the defense of such
claims will generally be the responsibility of the parties involved.
Consensual Relations Policy
St. Olaf College strongly
discourages Consensual Relationships between staff and faculty members where a
power or reporting relationship exists.
St. Olaf College prohibits
Consensual Relationships between a faculty or staff member and any student
enrolled at the College.
In situations involving the discouraged behavior in
part A, the College reserves the right to transfer employees, rearrange
reporting arrangements, or take other action, including disciplinary action, to
remedy any situation deemed inappropriate.
A member of the College community who violates part B will be subject to
discipline up to and including dismissal.
Reporting Apparent Violations and Procedures for
member of the College community who has reason to believe that a violation of
the Consensual Relations Policy has occurred should contact one of the
Investigators listed under the Sexual Harassment Policy. The Investigator
contacted is responsible to see that the matter is investigated and/or acted
upon appropriately. Any concern about violations at the Dean/Vice
President/Provost level may be taken to any of the Investigators, or to the
President, who shall take, or cause to be taken, appropriate action. If a student
believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment, he or she also
may file a grievance under the student grievance policy published in “The