Gordon College strives to provide a learning and working environment that is characterized by trust and mutual responsibility, and that observes the Christian virtues of justice, love and freedom. Consensual romantic relationships in which one party has any professional responsibility (or potential responsibility) for another’s academic or job performance are a violation of professional ethics, create a risk for real or perceived coercion, and are expressly a violation of this policy.
Relationships Involving Authority and Power
Sexual misconduct often involves relationships of unequal power, even if the relationship appears to be consensual. The power differential inherent in such relationships may compromise free choice. Such situations may contain elements of coercion, such as when compliance with requests for sexual favors becomes a criterion for granting privileges or favorable treatment in the classroom or on the job. However, sexual misconduct may also involve relationships among persons of equal authority or power, such as when repeated advances or demeaning verbal comments by a co-worker have a harmful effect on a person’s ability to perform his or her work.
Relationships between Employees and Students
Romantic (e.g. dating, amorous) relationships between faculty and students pose a threat to the integrity of the educational process and are specifically prohibited.
First, these relationships may be unjust to the involved student because of the inherent asymmetry of power existing between students and faculty. The pedagogical relationship between teacher and student must be protected from influences or activities that can interfere with learning and personal development. Second, the trust and collaboration of other students with the involved persons may be compromised and impair the learning environment for other students. Finally, by their nature, such relationships may undermine justice in subtle or inadvertent ways by unbalancing the attentions of the person in authority.
Likewise, consensual romantic relationships between staff members and students can interfere with a free and focused learning and working environment for each party.
Relationships between Employees
All members of the Gordon community are expected to maintain appropriate professional relations with one another.
Romantic relationships between co-workers raises serious concerns about conflicts of interest and preferential treatment, diminishing trust and jeopardizing the working environment for all employees. This is especially the case if one individual has professional influence or authority over the other.
If a staff member becomes involved in a romantic relationship within their own department, he or she must disclose its existence to her or his supervisor and must cooperate fully in making whatever arrangements are necessary to protect the workplace rights of all employees.