Procedures Regarding Consensual Relationships at TMCC

TMCC's Consensual Relationships Policy (#2523) and Sexual Harassment Policy (#2521) prohibit romantic or sexual relationships in circumstances in which one of the individuals is in a position of direct professional power over the other. In that circumstance, both the College and the person in the position of superior power are vulnerable to charges of harassment from the person in the position of lesser power or from third parties.

Where such relationships exist and no complaint has been made, a verbal or written warning shall be given to both involved parties by the director, dean, Vice President or President.

Only a formal complaint regarding the relationship will involve the affirmative action officer in investigating the complaint.

Definition of a Professional Power Relationship

  • A faculty member or supervisor will always have direct power over a student or employee when the faculty member has the authority to assign grades or the supervisor has the authority to influence promotion or tenure.
  • A faculty member holds such direct power in other circumstances such as in matters of admissions and advisement.
  • The same principles, which apply to the faculty-student relationship also govern administrative faculty and classified staff in their relationships with students.

Faculty, staff and administrators should be aware of the possibility that an apparent consensual relationship with a student or a subordinate may be interpreted either at the time or later as nor-consensual and, therefore, constitute sexual harassment. This type of relationship may pose an extreme challenge to TMCC since it serves a traditionally adult population. Faculty, staff and administrators involved in consensual relationships with students and persons under their supervision possibly compromise their capacity to be fair and objective. They need to be aware that a sexual relationship may give rise to a perception on the part of others that the capacity of the faculty member or the supervisor to evaluate objectively has been compromised. The power differential inherent in a faculty-student relationship and the potential interference with a supervisor's ability to make decisions thus may call into question the bona fide consensual nature of a relationship.

Faculty and students or supervisors and subordinates entering a romantic or sexual relationship where no professional power differential exists should be aware that power differentials might change. Therefore, all members of TMCC are encouraged to avoid situations that may cause difficulties.

If any party involved in such a relationship is in doubt whether a professional power differential does exist, he or she should consult with the department head, dean, supervisor or the affirmative action office. Even when there does not appear to be such a power differential in a relationship, the parties involved are advised to consult with the department head, dean or the affirmative action office.

Retaliation

TMCC will not allow retaliation against a staff or faculty member for filing a complaint of sexual harassment or for cooperating in an investigation of such a complaint. This policy seeks to encourage students’ staff and faculty to express freely and responsibly their concerns about any possible instances of sexual harassment.

Retaliation against a staff or faculty member who in good faith reports alleged harassment or who participates in an investigation is a violation of this policy and is subject to appropriate discipline.

Accusations of sexual harassment are serious and must not be made casually and without cause. This policy will not be used to bring groundless and malicious charges against students, faculty members or employees.

Sanctions

The following sanctions are applicable to academic and administrative faculty and other teaching personnel who violate the sexual harassment or consensual relationship policy or who bring frivolous or malicious charges against another individual.

A first offense could be grounds for dismissal and more than one sanction may be imposed for any single offense. Administrators responsible for implementing sanctions will report the nature of the sanctions to the complainant/person bringing charges.

Sanctions for Faculty and Professional Staff

Disciplinary sanctions are covered in the NSHE Code (Title 2, Chapter 6, Section 6.3).

Sanctions for Classified Staff

  1. Warnings and written reprimands (NAC 284.638)
  2. Suspensions (NAC 284.642)
  3. Demotions and dismissals (NAC 284.646)

Sanctions for Students

  1. Rules and disciplinary procedures for members of the College Community, (TMCC College Catalog)
  2. Grievance procedures relating to equal opportunity (NSHE Policies, Title 4, Chapter 8, Section 9).
  3. Disciplinary sanctions (NSHE Code, Title 2, Chapter 6).