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C. Consensual Sexual Relationships

The University strongly discourages sexual relationships between a teacher and student or between a supervisor and staff member because such relationships tend to create compromising conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts.

The relationship may give rise to the perception on the part of others that there is favoritism or bias in academic or employment decisions affecting the student or staff member. Moreover, given the uneven balance of power within such relationships, consent by the student or staff member in such cases is suspect and may be viewed by others or, at a later date, by the student or staff member as having been given as the result of coercion or intimidation. The atmosphere created by such appearances of bias, favoritism, intimidation, coercion or exploitation undermines the spirit of trust and mutual respect that is essential to a healthy work and academic environment.

As in all cases, the burden of proving sexual harassment (defined in Section B.3 above) rests with the accuser. But when charges of harassment are brought by the student or subordinate employee during or subsequent to such a relationship, and the teacher or supervisor claims that the relationship was consented to by the student or employee, the burden will be on the teacher or supervisor to prove that the relationship was consensual and voluntary.

As used in this section, the term "teacher" includes a faculty member, or a graduate student, administrator, coach, advisor, counselor, residence staff or program director having supervisory responsibilities for students.