As an educational institution Rhodes College is committed to maintaining an environment in which its Faculty members, students, administrators, and staff members are safe, can be trusted and count on others to be trustworthy, and receive and extend to others respect as human persons. Indeed, mutual respect among Faculty members, students and administrators is an essential ingredient in the educational process and the greatest care must be taken that it not in any way be eroded.
Virtually all Faculty members, administrators, and staff members are, or can appear to be, in a position to exercise power or authority, directly or indirectly, over students, whether or not an individual student is enrolled in their classes, are subject to their direct supervision, or have some form of business to transact with offices at the College. Many students are at a stage in their development when they may be particularly vulnerable to the influence of Faculty members, administrators, and staff members who are in positions where they can affect the terms and conditions of a student’s standing at the College.
If a student consents to a romantic relationship with a Faculty member, administrator, or staff member, the existence of such a relationship could have unintended adverse effects on the educational environment of the College. In some cases such a relationship can end unhappily or become problematic, resulting in charges of sexual harassment, and even physical or psychological abuse.
Some circumstances in which Faculty members, administrators, staff members work with students can have the potential for the exploitation of students. For example, a work-study student might be asked to perform services that go beyond the terms and conditions of the work-study assignment, e.g. child care, personal business transactions. In such cases, it must be clear that the student may decline such personal invitations without any adverse consequences. It may be that a work-study student will respond to an invitation to provide personal assistance, but this relationship must be one in which the student volunteers, is offered and accepts a fair wage for services, and one which bears no relationship to the continuation of or the evaluation of the work-study assignment.
Because of the commitment to maintaining an environment that supports our educational goals Rhodes College prohibits romantic, sexual, and exploitative relationships between college employees and students. In the event that any such relationship is reported and confirmed the college employee is subject to employee disciplinary procedures up to and including termination in the case of administrators and staff members, or dismissal for cause in the case of Faculty members. The policies and procedures for employee disciplinary procedures and dismissal for cause, as outlined in the College Handbook, apply in all such cases.
There are exceptional circumstances in which the spouse or partner of a college employee is a student at the College. This fraternization policy does not apply in such circumstances. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Chief Human Resources Officer, is the administrative officer who determines whether an exceptional circumstance applies.