Viterbo alters relationship policy

By Molly Grosskreutz

Assistant A&E Editor

Viterbo University has altered its faculty/student consensual rela­tionship policy, effective as of Sept. 7. Diane Brimmer, vice president for Student Development described these changes.

Prior to the revisions, the policy in the faculty handbook stated, “Vit­erbo University strongly discourag­es such relationships.” The revised handbook has made Viterbo’s stance more firm, by adopting a “Prohibi­tion on consensual relationships with students.”

The new policy reads as follows:

“Viterbo University seeks to main­tain a professional and ethical ed­ucational environment. Actions of university employees (faculty members (including adjuncts), staff members, and academic adminis­trators) that are unprofessional are inconsistent with the university’s educational mission.

“A consensual dating or sexual relationship between any university employee and a student is deemed unprofessional and is therefore pro­hibited, unless the two persons are married. If the two persons are in a committed relationship, the rela­tionship must be disclosed to the employee’s supervisor.

“A violation of this policy may re­sult in disciplinary action including dismissal for unprofessional con­duct. In the event that a prohibited consensual relationship between employees and a student is in exis­tence at the time this policy is adopt­ed, the employee must disclose the relationship to his/her supervisor or the Vice President for Academic Affairs and initiate arrangements to address any conflict of interest is­sues.”

“The policy changes were made because we want to provide students with the best learning and living en­vironment possible,” Brimmer said in regards to this new policy. Brim­mer also noted that Viterbo is one of many colleges and universities with such a policy.

Brimmer stresses that this new pol­icy does not affect platonic relation­ships between faculty and students. Students are still allowed to get cof­fee with a professor off-campus, for example. Only dating relationships between a student and staff, faculty or administration member are pro­habited.

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