Nepotism and Consensual Relationship Policy

The fulfillment of Bentley's educational mission requires that professionalism and an atmosphere of trust be maintained in the relationships between all members of the academic community. Faculty members, as well as those individuals upon whom Bentley confers managerial responsibilities, carry a special responsibility to adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards and to avoid any actions that may appear to undermine this atmosphere of trust. The following policies are aimed at maintaining academic and work environments that are as free as possible from conflicts of interest, exploitation, favoritism and risks of liability.

I. Employment of Family or Household Members

Bentley University may employ family members or household members of currently employed faculty and staff as long as the employees are not within the same direct reporting line. For purposes of this policy, a "family member" is defined as a spouse, parent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew, cousin, and any in-law of the foregoing. A "household member" is defined as a person having legal residence in or living in the employee's place of residence.

In situations where two employees subsequently become family members or household members and one is in the same direct reporting line as the other, both employees will be required to immediately disclose the relationship to Office of Human Resources and one of the individuals will be required to effect a transfer or termination within ninety (90) days of the change of condition. Failure to comply with this disclosure requirement is a violation of this policy and therefore grounds for appropriate discipline.

This policy shall not apply to family or household members already employed by Bentley as of the effective date of this policy. Any exceptions to this policy may only be made by the president, or their designee, who shall exercise their responsibility to ensure that alternative evaluative and managerial arrangements are put in place and will communicate such arrangements to Bentley faculty and staff.

II. Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationships

Romantic or sexual relationships between individuals in unequal positions are inherently problematic. In the University setting, such positions include (but are not limited to) teacher and student, manager and employee, senior faculty and junior faculty, mentor and trainee, adviser and advisee, teaching assistant and student, individuals participating with students on trips and excursions, coach and athlete, and individuals who supervise the daily student living environment and student residents. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest, exploitation, favoritism and bias, such relationships undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and evaluation process. The relationship may also be less consensual than the individual whose position confers power believes and may be perceived in different ways by each of the parties to it, especially in retrospect.

A. Consensual Relationships With Students

Bentley prohibits faculty and staff members from having romantic or sexual relationships with students (undergraduate, graduate or doctoral) over whom they have educational, advisory or supervisory responsibility. If a complaint against a faculty or staff member related to such romantic or sexual involvement is found to be justified, that faculty or staff member will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

In addition, Bentley believes that romantic and sexual relationships with students, whether or not the students are subject to supervision or evaluation by the faculty or staff member, should be avoided. Such relationships are inconsistent with the proper role of the teacher and manager and are susceptible to appearances of impropriety and future conflicts of interest. Bentley therefore strongly discourages such relationships.

Any exceptions to this policy can only be made by the president, or their designee, who shall exercise their responsibility to ensure that alternative evaluative and supervisory arrangements are put in place and will communicate such arrangements to Bentley faculty and staff.

B. Consensual Relationships With Employees

Bentley prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between managers and employees in the same direct reporting line. Such relationships are potentially exploitative and raise concerns about the validity of consent, favoritism, conflicts of interest and unfair treatment. If a complaint against a faculty or staff member related to such romantic or sexual involvement is found to be justified, that faculty or staff member will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

In situations where two employees in the same direct reporting line become romantically or sexually involved, both employees will be required to immediately disclose the relationship to the Office of Human Resources and one of the individuals will be required to effect a transfer or termination within ninety (90) days of the change of condition. Failure to comply with this disclosure requirement is a violation of this policy and therefore grounds for appropriate discipline.

This policy shall not apply to relationships between employees of Bentley already in existence as of the effective date of this policy and disclosed to the Office of Human Resources within one month of the effective date of this policy. Any exceptions to this policy can only be made by the president, or their designee, who shall exercise their responsibility to ensure that alternative evaluative and supervisory arrangements are put in place and will communicate such arrangements to Bentley faculty and staff.

Effective Date: December 1, 2007

Revised Date: May 22, 2008

This policy may be amended at any time.