IX. Prohibited Relationships
Relationships in which there is a power differential produce risks for all members of the Kenyon community and undermine the professionalism of faculty and supervisors. Such relationships may raise sexual harassment concerns or suspicions that the person in power is behaving unprofessionally towards the other person in the relationship and towards other people in the classroom or workplace. Third parties may be impacted by the perception of or actual favoritism or special treatment based on the relationship.
Sexual and dating relationships in which one person has a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other person are unacceptable and constitute personal and professional misconduct, even if both parties purport to consent to the relationship. Because of the inherent power differentials:
Faculty members, coaches and supervisors are prohibited from engaging in sexual or dating relationships with any student; and,
Employees (staff, faculty and administrators) are prohibited from engaging in sexual or dating relationships with anyone under their direct supervision (student or employee).
For the purposes of this prohibition, a ‘relationship’ includes a single date or sexual encounter. Initiating, attempting to initiate, participating in, or attempting to participate in such a relationship is a violation of this policy and may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment.
However, the policy also recognizes that spouses and partners of employees may enroll as students at Kenyon. This section is not meant to prohibit pre-existing relationships or to prohibit employee spouses/partners from educational opportunities, but to address prohibited relationships that raise concerns of Prohibited Conduct under this policy. Spouses and domestic partners (as defined for benefits; more information available in this Human Resources PDF) of a faculty member should avoid enrolling in that faculty member’s classes and such relationships should be reported to the Provost. If circumstances require enrollment of one’s spouse or domestic partner in a class, then arrangements should be made to have another faculty member evaluate the spouse/partner’s work.
A supervisor involved in a relationship with an employee must immediately report that relationship to their own supervisor and must immediately discontinue their supervisory role.
Complaints regarding conflicts of interest or failure to report such spousal/domestic partner relationships that, in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator in consultation with the Provost and/or Director of Human Resources, do not implicate Prohibited Conduct under this policy will be referred to the Provost (for matters involving faculty) or Director of Human Resources (for matters involving administrators or staff) for appropriate action and will be resolved outside of this policy.
Any individual may raise a concern under this provision, including an aggrieved party outside the relationship prohibited by this provision. Retaliation against persons who report concerns about such relationships is prohibited and constitutes a violation of this policy.
(Endorsed by campus governance on 10/05/2020; effective beginning 10/14/2020)
Within this section, the following terms and definitions apply:
- Affiliated individuals: Employees, trustees, vendors and volunteers.
- Employee: Faculty member, exempt-staff member, or non-exempt staff member
- Trustees: Active or emeritus members of the Board of Trustees of Kenyon College
- Vendors: Organizations engaged in a contractual relationship with the College to execute a specific function. Such functional areas include, but may not be limited to: food service, contractors, etc.
- Volunteers: Alumni, parents and friends of the College who volunteer to assist the College with certain events, functions and committees.
- Student-staff: Undergraduate students enrolled at the College who are employed by the College, e.g., Community Advisor, library assistant, Lowry Center worker, AT, etc.
For the purposes of this section of the Sexual Misconduct and Harassment Policy, a “relationship” is defined as a single date or sexual encounter.
Relationships Between Affiliated Individuals and Students
All affiliated individuals are prohibited from initiating, engaging in, or attempting to engage in, sexual or dating relationships with any student. An affiliated individual involved in a sexual or dating relationship with a student which began prior to their engagement with the College is exempt from this prohibition, as is an employee whose spouse or domestic partner is a student. If, however, the relationship is with someone the affiliated individual supervises, directly evaluates or officially mentors, the relationship must be disclosed as outlined in the paragraph below (“Disclosures”) so that appropriate action — such as changing the reporting or grading structure — can be taken.
Relationships Between Individuals in a Supervisory Relationship
All affiliated individuals and student-staff are prohibited from engaging in sexual or dating relationships with anyone under their direct supervision or whom they officially evaluate or mentor. They are further prohibited from officially supervising, evaluating or mentoring anyone with whom they had a relationship in the past, regardless of the consensual nature of the relationship. If such a situation exists or develops, the relationship must be disclosed as outlined in the paragraph below (“Disclosures”) so that appropriate action — such as changing the reporting structure — can be taken.
Sexual and dating relationships in which there is a power differential, even when the differential does not fall into one of the above categories, may raise questions of sexual harassment or suspicions of unprofessional conduct (e.g., conflict of interest, abuse of authority, favoritism, and unfair treatment). For this reason, even relationships that are not officially supervisory or mentoring in nature may require extra sensitivity where such a power differential occurs. Anyone concerned that issues described in this paragraph have developed (or may develop) in a relationship they are aware of or a part of is encouraged to seek guidance from the Civil Rights & Title IX Coordinator.
All disclosures of existing relationships and reports of concerns should be made to the Civil Rights & Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator, at their discretion, may inform the appropriate supervisor and/or the Director of Human Resources (for matters involving staff and/or student staff) or the Provost (for matters involving faculty) about a disclosed relationship. These matters will be addressed outside of the Sexual Misconduct & Harassment Policy unless the report contains information which would support a violation of one or more sections of Prohibited Conduct detailed in Section VII.