POL 04.20.06 - Interpersonal Relationships among Faculty, Staff and Students

Authority: Board of Trustees

History: First Issued: September 15, 1995. Last Revised: September 20, 2013.

Related Policies: 
UNC Policy Manual 300.4.2 Employment of Related Persons (Anti-Nepotism Policy) 
UNC Policy Manual 300.4.2.1[G] Guidelines on Implementing Anti-Nepotism Policy) 
UNC Policy Manual 300.4.1 Improper Relationships between Students and Employees 

Additional References: 
UNC Code: Appendix I.C.

Contact Info: Vice Provost For Equal Opportunity & Equity (919-515-4559)


1. INTRODUCTION

This policy serves to uphold the university’s high standards of professional and ethical conduct, specifically with respect to interpersonal relationships. The intent of this policy is to provide assurance that all students and employees are able to learn or work in an environment where they can be objectively supervised, instructed, or evaluated.

This policy defines the types of interpersonal relationships among faculty, staff and students that by their very existence create an inherent conflict of interest that affects a student or employee’s ability to be objectively supervised, instructed or evaluated.  This policy also proscribes conduct with respect to interpersonal relationships among faculty, staff, and students including improper relationships between students and employees and employment of related persons (anti-nepotism) and provides for disciplinary action for policy violations.

2. DEFINITIONS

2.1 Amorous Relationship

A relationship when two individuals voluntarily engage in a romantic partnership (i.e., dating, engaged, sexually intimate).

2.2 Familial Relationship

A relationship between two related persons.  For purposes of this policy, “related persons” includes:

·         Husband/Wife

·         Domestic Partner

·         Parent/Child

·         Brother/Sister

·         Grandparent/Grandchild

·         Aunt/Uncle and Niece/Nephew

·         First Cousins

·         Guardian/Ward

·         Anyone living in the same household or whose relationship is so closely identified with another as to suggest a conflict, or

·         Ex-, Step-, Half-, and In-Law relationships as appropriate based on the above list.

The prohibited conduct in this policy applicable to familial relationships shall continue after the termination of the relationship (e.g. divorce) until such time as there is no effect upon impartiality.

2.3 Educational Responsibility

Responsibility that includes, but is not limited to, teaching a course; directing an independent study, thesis, or dissertation; participating on a graduate advisory committee; employing a teaching or research assistant; making decisions regarding grades, honors, or degrees; considering disciplinary action for a student; or any other action that assesses, determines, or influences academic performance, progress, or potential.

2.4 Employment Decision

A decision that includes, but is not limited to, one relating to the search, selection, or appointment of an individual to employment; establishing the terms and conditions of employment; determining compensation; evaluating work performance; voting for or otherwise considering reappointment, promotion, or tenure; issuing disciplinary action; or any other action that assesses, determines, or influences work performance, career progress, or other employment status.

3. PROHIBITED CONDUCT

The prohibited conduct in this section shall be considered misconduct subject to disciplinary action.

3.1 Improper Relationships with Students

3.1.1  A University employee shall not have or share educational responsibility for any student enrolled at NC State with whom the employee has an amorous or familial relationship.

3.1.2 A University employee shall not engage in sexual activity with any student enrolled at NC State (other than his or her spouse) who is a minor under the age of 18.

3.2 Employment Decisions

A University employee shall not have or share authority for employment decisions  for an employee with whom  the individual has an amorous or familial relationship.  

3.3 Academic or Job-Related Requests

A University employee shall not require or request a subordinate student or employee to perform a task or duty that is unrelated to the student’s  academic program or to the employee’s job responsibilities and that would be of personal benefit to the University employee.

4. DUTY TO DISCLOSE   

The inherent fact or semblance of a conflict of interest created by an amorous or familial relationship should be disclosed in order to avoid a potential violation of this policy.    

4.1 New Employee / Student

Upon hire (new employee) or academic enrollment (student), an individual has a duty to disclose the conflict of interest by contacting the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED). 

4.2 Change in Status

A change in an individual’s status (i.e. employment, academic, relationship) that would establish a potential violation of this section (where one did not exist previously) creates a duty to disclose the conflict of interest by contacting the OIED.  For example, an employment action (e.g., new hire, promotion, position reclassification, reassignment of job responsibilities) or a decision of two employees to begin dating may result in a potential violation. 

4.3 Failure to disclose a conflict of interest or failure to disclose in a timely manner shall constitute a violation of this policy.

5. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT PLAN

Upon appropriate disclosure pursuant to section 4 and as appropriate, the OIED will oversee the development, approval and monitoring of a conflict management plan to avoid a policy violation.  Failure to adhere to an approved conflict management plan shall constitute a violation of this policy.

6. DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Violations of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Such disciplinary action shall be conducted in accordance with existing University policies and procedures

7. RESOURCES

Questions concerning this policy should be referred to the OIED, Employee Relations – Human Resources, or the Office of General Counsel.