Skip to Content
Menu
Seton Hall University

Policy Against Intimate Relationships with Subordinates

Purpose

Seton Hall University (“Seton Hall” or the “University”) is committed to providing a working, learning and living environment that is free from real or apparent conflicts of interest when individuals in positions of unequal power become involved in intimate relationships. The purpose of this policy is to establish rules and guidance for addressing such relationships and to prohibit retaliation for bringing a claim alleging a violation of this policy or participating in a review of any such claim. This policy will be administered in accordance with our Catholic mission and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

This policy applies to all University students and to all Trustees, Regents, officers, faculty, administrators, staff members, employees, and vendors with supervisory or evaluative authority, on and off campus.  This policy does not abridge or supersede an individual’s rights and remedies under the law. 

Scope

University Policy

Definitions

A. Intimate Relationships. An intimate relationship under this policy consists of dating, romantic and/or sexual relationships, where one party has supervisory or evaluative authority over the other, including but not limited to: hiring, working conditions, compensation, promotion, discipline, admission/enrollment, grading, assignments, academic supervision, financial support, or extracurricular program participation.

B. Retaliation. Retaliation is an act of intimidation, harassment, or reprisal against an individual for initiating a good faith complaint or participating in any proceeding under this policy or for otherwise exercising his/her rights under this policy or the law.

C. Preponderance of the Evidence. Preponderance of the evidence is defined to mean more likely than not. It is the standard of proof applied in determining responsibility under this policy.

Policy

A. As a Catholic institution of higher education, the University embraces Judeo-Christian values that proclaim the dignity and rights of all people. The University is committed to maintaining a fair and professional working, learning and living environment in which students, faculty, administrators and staff carry out their responsibilities in an atmosphere free of conflicts of interest.

B. The University considers it inappropriate for any member of the University community to establish an intimate relationship with a student, subordinate, or colleague on whose academic or work performance he or she will be required to make professional judgments. The University requires that the individual cease such conduct and/or divest himself/herself of the professional responsibility for supervision or oversight, should an intimate relationship develop. In addition, the individual with the supervisory or educational responsibility for an employee, faculty member or student must inform his or her immediate supervisor of the relationship so that the University may take appropriate action, if necessary.

C. Intimate relationships that occur in the student-faculty context require special consideration. These types of intimate relationships can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation and compromise an individual’s ability to make voluntary choices due to the difference in power and the respect and trust that are often present between a student and a faculty member. Faculty are prohibited from participating in an intimate relationship with a student. Moreover, any attempt by a faculty member to show a romantic interest in a student may constitute sexual harassment or raise claims of preferential treatment in violation of the University’s Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation. Similarly, a supervisor's display of a romantic or sexual interest in a subordinate may constitute sexual harassment.

D. Retaliation is a separate, serious offense under this policy and will be considered independently from the merits of the underlying allegation. Upon a finding that retaliation has occurred, the actor will be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination or expulsion from the University.

E. Anyone who knowingly makes a false allegation under this policy will be subject to appropriate action, including disciplinary action up to, and including, termination or expulsion from the University.

F. Any supervisor or manager who receives notice of an intimate relationship under this policy must immediately report the relationship to Human Resources.

Reporting

Reports of violations of this policy should be made to Michael Silvestro, Associate Vice President for Human Resources at (973) 761-9138 or michael.silvestro1@shu.edu.

Responsive Action

A. The University’s procedures for responding to allegations of violations vary depending on whether the alleged actor is a student, employee, faculty member, or non-member of the community.

B. Review of complaints against employees, including faculty members, will be guided by:

C. Review of complaints against students will be guided by The Code of Student Conduct or the Law School Honor Code.

D. The University reserves the right to take appropriate responsive action. Responsive action may include disciplinary action up to and, including termination or expulsion from the University. The University may also impose interim and/or protective measures prior to any finding or determination.

Related Documents 

Responsible Offices

Related Policies

Approval

Approved by Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., Interim President, on the recommendation of the Executive Cabinet on August 23, 2018.

Effective Date

August 23, 2018

Back to top