UMKC values an educational environment where the dignity of each person is appreciated and respect is exhibited in all interactions among faculty, staff, and students, and as individuals within our collective University community, we commit to act with honesty, integrity, transparency, and accountability for our decisions and actions. To honor this commitment, we must avoid conflicts of interest, favoritism, or exploitation of others, and it is with this in mind that University policy prohibits consensual romantic relationships between members of the UMKC community when any participant has direct evaluative or supervisory authority over the other(s).
Although a consensual relationship may seem innocuous, there are a number of concerns that may arise, including:
- Restricted opportunities, either perceived or real, for others in the academic or work environment;
- Unfair or undue access or advantages bestowed upon the participant(s) by the person with greater power or influence;
- The relationship may be less consensual than the person with greater power perceives it to be, especially when the participant(s) with lesser power feel obligated in some manner to engage in an intimate relationship due to the power differential (which is often the case); or
- Circumstances may shift, causing the once welcome conduct to become unwelcome, which could result in allegations of sexual harassment.
For purposes of University policy, a consensual romantic relationship is present when two or more participants were or are engaged in a romantic, intimate, or sexual manner, with the consent of all involved.
Direct evaluative or supervisory authority is present when one person is tasked with evaluating or supervising another, or providing academic, extracurricular, or work oversight; advising; mentoring; coaching; counseling; and/or otherwise participating in or influencing decisions that may reward or penalize the other relationship participant(s).
Examples of prohibited relationships include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Coach and student athlete or graduate assistant within Athletics
- Faculty/staff and any student/student worker/graduate assistant within that unit/department/division
- Staff supervisor and direct report
- Administrator and faculty/staff within their reporting line
When a consensual romantic relationship was or is present, the individual in the evaluative or supervisory position has an obligation to immediately disclose the relationship to the individual’s administrative superior and to cooperate with the administrative superior in removing themselves from any such evaluative or supervisory activity in order to eliminate the existing or potential conflict of interest.
The University may take any of the following steps to address the presence of a prohibited relationship:
- Transferring supervisory, decision-making, evaluative, academic, and/or advisory responsibilities;
- Providing an additional layer of oversight to the supervisory role;
- Transferring one of the individuals to another position; and/or
- Taking any other action reasonably necessary to manage or eliminate the actual or potential conflict of interest and/or mitigate adverse effects.
If an employee has a consensual romantic relationship with another employee who is not a subordinate, then each must refrain from participating in or influencing decisions that may reward or penalize one another, such as merit raises, promotion and tenure, etc.
A violation of 330.065 Consensual Romantic Relationships Policy (link), regardless of the manner in which it is brought to the attention of the University, may lead to disciplinary action as appropriate, up to and including termination of employment, following appropriate processes for such discipline.