UTS184 Consensual Relationships

Sec. 1 General.

The University of Texas System institutions and the University of Texas System Administration shall adopt policies addressing consensual relationships.

Sec. 2 Policy Requirements.

The policies shall comply in all substantive respects with a model developed by the Office of General Counsel, shall be published in the institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures, and shall include, at a minimum, the following elements:

2.1 A consensual sexual relationship, romantic relationship, or dating between a university supervisor and supervisee (as defined below and includes such a relationship between a faculty member and a student), regardless of whether the supervisory relationship is direct or indirect, is prohibited unless the relationship has been reported in advance and a plan to manage the conflict inherent in the relationship has been approved and documented. Such relationships are prohibited even if only a single event. If managing the conflict is not possible, the relationship is prohibited.

2.2 Any management plan must be documented in writing.

2.3 U. T. System Administration and institutions may develop and adopt more stringent consensual relationship policies or adopt more stringent policies for specific units where it is not possible to manage the conflict inherent in the relationship.

2.4 Athletic departments shall develop and implement stringent consensual relationship policies that prohibit all sexual relationships, romantic relationships, and dating between any member of the coaching or athletics administrative staff and any student athlete or student assigned to or associated with the athletic department, such as interns and student employees, unless approved by the President or designee.

2.5 If there is a complaint of sexual harassment about a relationship covered by Sec. 2.1, above, and the relationship has not been disclosed and a management plan implemented, the burden shall be on the supervisor to explain the failure to comply with this policy and such failure will be a factor in determining whether the relationship was consensual and free of sexual harassment. In any event, failure to disclose the relationship and document (Sec. 2.2) and follow a management plan shall constitute a violation of this policy. If sexual harassment is established, it shall constitute a policy violation in addition to a violation of the consensual relationships policy.

2.6 The policy shall include procedures for promptly reviewing allegations of violations of this policy, providing the individual alleged to have violated the policy with an opportunity to respond, and disciplining that individual if deemed appropriate after taking into account the known facts.

Sec. 3 Counseling and Other Services.

One or more offices shall be designated as offices where students, faculty, and employees can obtain advice about sexual harassment, sexual assault, and consensual relationship concerns. In addition, U. T. System Administration and each institution will inform the university community about services available to obtain confidential counseling without System Administration or an institution being required to file a formal report or begin an investigation over the objection of the individual.

Sec. 4 Training and Education.

U. T. System Administration and each institution shall develop robust information and training programs for all faculty, staff, and students. The respective Executive Vice Chancellor's Office will review the programs annually.

Sec. 5 Office of General Counsel Review.

The Office of General Counsel shall annually review institution and System administration compliance with this policy and provide a report to the Chancellor.

Definitions

Direct authority – The authority vested in an individual as a result of his/her immediate position of power over another. Examples include, but are not limited to: supervisor - supervised employee; faculty - enrolled student; faculty committee member - student submitting thesis; faculty mentor – student mentee; coach - coached athlete; Dean - supervised faculty.

Indirect Authority – Authority derived from an informal or indirect relationship which allows for determinations or evaluations affecting the terms and conditions of employment or student status. Examples include, but are not limited to: a student majoring in a particular field who would still be indirectly under the control or influence of a senior professor or individual in the department or school; an employee in the same organizational unit who is under the indirect control of all more senior individuals in the department; a graduate teaching assistant and a non-supervising department faculty member.

Management Plan – A written plan developed as provided in this policy that manages the conflict and is acknowledged and signed by both parties.

Supervisor – A University faculty member or employee who has direct or indirect supervisory, teaching, evaluation or advisory authority over an employee or student.

Supervisee – Any person whose terms and conditions of employment or student status are directly or indirectly controlled or affected by a supervisor.