The educational mission of Bradley University is advanced by professionalism, trust, and respect in relationships among University community members. Bradley University is committed to ensuring that the University environment is free from real or perceived conflicts of interest, favoritism, and exploitation that may result from consensual romantic relationships and/or sexual interactions.
Except as expressly permitted herein, this policy prohibits consensual relationships where one individual has an evaluative, advisory, managerial, supervisory, teaching, or reporting role in regard to the other, including:
This policy applies to all Bradley employees, University affiliates, students, and student employees.
Employee: Employees include, but are not limited to, administrators, faculty, staff, part- time or adjunct employees, coaches, student employees, graduate assistants and interns.
Coach: Any individual (employee or volunteer) exercising coaching responsibilities for curricular, co-curricular or extracurricular activities, including, but not limited to, intercollegiate athletics.
Student: Any person registered for study at the University, including online and between academic periods for continuing students. This definition includes students involved in curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities, including student athletes.
Supervisor: An employee (including faculty), student, or University affiliate who teaches, manages, supervises, advises, coaches, or evaluates in any way other employees, students, student athletes, or affiliates; and/or has a position of power, control, or the ability to influence decisions with regard to other individuals in the learning, intercollegiate athletics, or working environment of the University.
University affiliate: An individual associated with the University in a capacity other than as a student or employee who has access to University resources through a contractual arrangement or other association that has been approved by the Human Resources Department or any Vice President. Examples of a University affiliate may include, but are not limited to:
Consensual Relationship: A consensual romantic and/or sexual relationship, either past or present and including marriage.,.
Mitigation Plan: A written plan developed as provided in this policy that mitigates the conflict of interest and the potential for exploitation or the appearance of exploitation or favoritism created by the consensual relationship and which plan is acknowledged and signed by the parties involved.
The University recognizes that all individuals are entitled to freely choose their personal associations and relationships. However, when a faculty or staff member enters into a romantic and/or sexual relationship with an employee or student whom he or she supervises, a power differential may exist that can compromise an individual’s choice in the relationship. This type of relationship may also harm or injure others in the academic or work environment, providing grounds for complaints by third parties when that relationship gives undue access, advantage, or preferential treatment, or when it restricts opportunities or creates the perception that any of these problems exist.
Even when consensual, such relationships give rise to the potential for or the appearance of impropriety, a conflict of interest, favoritism, or bias. They may also undermine the real or perceived integrity of the evaluation or supervision given. Consensual romantic relationships and/or sexual interactions can become exploitative or cause actual harm to one of the parties due to the reporting and/or evaluative nature of the professional relationship and the power differential inherent therein. This may occur both during the relationship and after the relationship has ended.
Moreover, although the individual who occupies a power or authority position may honestly believe that a relationship is consensual, that may not be the case. Due to the imbalance of power, conflicting interests, and the perceptions of unfair advantage, the student’s or employee’s actual freedom of choice may be greatly diminished. The relationship is likely to be perceived in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties consent to a relationship at its outset, such prior consent does not preclude a later complaint based upon subsequent unwelcome or inappropriate conduct.
Anyone who enters into a consensual relationship, as defined above, must realize that if a charge of sexual harassment or other wrongdoing is subsequently filed, the University may be charged with liability because of the alleged wrongdoer’s position. Bradley University does not wish to assume such liability and it is unfair to request that it do so. In the event a legal matter or proceeding arises out of an individual's participation in a consensual relationship, the University cannot be expected to defend an individual who entered into such a relationship and who is accused of wrongdoing. That individual will be personally responsible for defending him/herself and will be expected to bear all of his/her own expenses in such defense, including, but not limited to, attorneys' fees and other costs.
Notwithstanding this general rule prohibiting consensual relationships as defined in this policy, Bradley University acknowledges that some consensual relationships may be acceptable, particularly in situations where a Bradley employee is married to or in a committed relationship with another individual, and that individual becomes enrolled as a student at Bradley University, or that individual becomes employed by Bradley University in a position that reports to the individual they are in a relationship with. Individuals in these relationships must follow the reporting procedure stated in this policy and the University will determine whether an exception is appropriate (See Mitigation Plan).
Furthermore, employees or University affiliates are not permitted to use social media applications or other forms of communication to pursue romantic or sexual relationships with Bradley University students or employees for whom they have an evaluative, advisory, managerial, supervisory, teaching, or reporting role.
Both individuals who enter into a consensual relationship (as defined in this policy) must report the relationship and their respective University roles (teaching, managing, supervisory, advisory, evaluative, and/or reporting) to their supervisor within ten (10) business days. If the individual is a staff member or University affiliate, the supervisor must file (within 10 business days) a report of the relationship to the Vice President overseeing the unit. If the individual is a faculty member, the supervisor must file (within 10 business days) a report of the relationship to the Dean or to the Provost. Supervisor reports should describe any impacts of the consensual relationship on the function of their respective unit/department.
The University will determine whether an exception is appropriate, and, if so, whether any changes in the evaluative, advisory, managerial, supervisory, teaching, or reporting role should be made.
If the consensual relationship ends, the individuals involved in the relationship must report the termination of the relationship to the individuals named above within ten (10) business days.
If an individual independently observes conduct that may be prohibited by this policy or is aware of an alleged violation of this policy, the individual has an obligation to report it as follows:
Retaliation against individuals who report concerns about potential violations of this policy is prohibited.
If the University grants an exception for a consensual relationship, a written mitigation plan must be generated within ten (10) business days of the supervisor report.
Mitigation plans should be created in collaboration with both individuals involved in the consensual relationship.
When the consensual relationship involves a staff member or University affiliate, the mitigation plan should be produced by the supervisor, Human Resources, and the Vice President overseeing the unit. When the consensual relationship involves a faculty member, the mitigation plan should be produced by the Chair, Dean, and Provost, with a copy to Human Resources.
If the conflict of interest and potential for exploitation or the appearance of exploitation or favoritism created by the consensual relationship cannot be successfully mitigated and managed, then the consensual relationship is prohibited.
The mitigation plan will:
The sanction imposed for violation of this policy will be dependent on the facts and circumstances of the case, including whether the employee or staff member voluntarily reported the relationship, and may range from a reprimand to termination of employment.
This policy will be available on the Human Resources website. Changes to this policy shall be communicated to all employees, University affiliates, and students. Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the Human Resources Department.
HISTORY: Modification of interim policy implemented on August 13, 2018.
RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT
Human Resources Department
Fax: (309) 677-3867
Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Swords Hall 205