Consensual Teacher - Student Relationships

The relationship between teacher and student is the foundation of the academic mission of the University. This relationship vests considerable trust in the teacher, who, in turn, bears the responsibility to serve as mentor, educator, and impartial evaluator. In discharging this responsibility, teachers are accountable for behaving at the highest professional level, recognizing the dignity and worth of each person, and protecting the integrity of the student-teacher relationship.

Teacher-student relationships carry risks of conflict of interest, breach of trust, abuse of power, and breach of professional ethics. For these reasons, teachers must not engage in any consensual sexual relationships with a student while the teacher is in a position of supervisory academic authority with respect to the student. Nor may a teacher assert any supervisory academic authority with respect to a student who was the subject of a previous consensual sexual relationship. This prohibition extends to consensual sexual relationships between a graduate or professional student and an undergraduate when the graduate or professional student has some supervisory academic responsibility for the undergraduate, to consensual sexual relationships between department Chairs and students in that department, to consensual sexual relationships between graduate advisors, Program Directors, and all others (each of whom is considered a teacher) who have supervisory academic responsibility for a student and that student.

When a teacher-student consensual sexual relationship exists, has previously existed, or develops, the teacher must decline to participate in any evaluative or supervisory academic activity with respect to the student. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the appropriate dean when such a relationship exists, or has existed, so that he/she will not be placed in any such situation. The appropriate dean to inform includes the Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs, Director of Admissions and/or Assistant Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs for students in the Foundations Phase, and the Associate or Assistant Dean for Clinical Education for students in the Application, Discovery, and Translation Phases.

The deans, department chairs, and other administrators should respond to reports of prohibited sexual relationships by inquiring further and, if such reports appear to be accurate, initiating appropriate disciplinary action or remedial measures against the teacher involved. Egregious breach of this policy is adequate cause for termination under paragraph 12.2 of the Emory University Faculty Handbook Statement of Principles Governing Faculty Relationships.

Non-consensual sexual relationships are prohibited by the Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment policy (1.3).

Last modified: 7/27/2018

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