Amorous Relationships


Delta State University is committed to providing a positive environment which includes ethical and professional conduct; therefore, this policy addresses amorous relationships between employees and/or between employees and students as well as the actions that must be taken to address such relationships. This policy does not apply to situations of nepotism involving related or married individuals.


Employee: any person employed by the University as faculty or adjunct faculty, staff, hourly, full-time, part-time, or temporary

Student: any person enrolled full-time or part-time in any academic program associated with the University

Consensual Relationship: a sexual and/or romantic relationship between two persons who voluntarily enter into such relationship

Position of Authority:  includes, but not limited to, authoritative capacity in which an individual has the potential to, in his/her professional capacity, evaluate or supervise the reporting employee or student

Power-Differential Amorous Relationship: includes but not limited to any amorous relationship between a person in position of authority and student or subordinate


Professionalism in interpersonal relationships between University employees and between employees and students is important to the mission and proper functioning of the University. Consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships between individuals in such groups can present conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts. Amorous relationships can undermine the University’s mission when persons in positions of authority abuse or appear to abuse their authority.. Power-differential and non-power differential amorous or sexual relationships present conflicts of interest even when the relationships are consensual and have the potential to lead to undesirable and, in some instances, unhealthy consequences..

Although not strictly prohibited, power-differential and non-power differential consensual amorous and /or sexual relationships between employees or between an employee and student are discouraged.

Should such relationships arise, the principals involved must take steps immediately to eliminate any appearance of or potential conflicts of interest. It is imperative that those with authority neither abuse, nor appear to abuse, this power entrusted to them. Graduate assistants, resident assistants, tutors, and other employment classes not identified, who are also professionally responsible for students, should exercise special care in their relationships with students they instruct or evaluate.

If a relationship exists or develops, it is the responsibility of the employee or student to report that relationship to his/her immediate supervisor and/or Human Resources Management. Failure to report such a relationship may result in disciplinary action.

Once a power-differential amorous relationship is reported, the following actions must be taken: the position of authority must be eliminated or transferred to another appropriate person to ensure unbiased supervision or evaluation of the person supervised. Documentation of any action taken related to a power-differential amorous relationship must be reported to Human Resources Management. Persons in positions of authority should be aware that any romantic involvement with a student or subordinate employee could make them liable for formal action if a complaint is initiated. Even when both parties have consented to such a relationship, it is the officer, supervisor, or faculty member who may be held accountable for unprofessional behavior. The University encourages power-differential amorous relationships be ended and that no DSU employee or student in a position of authority shall enter into or continue an amorous relationship with another employee or student at DSU.

For individuals in non-power-differential amorous relationships, it is each party’s responsibility to monitor the circumstances so that neither an appearance nor an actual conflict of interest is created. Individuals involved in such relationships should be sensitive to the constant possibility that he or she may unexpectedly be placed in a position of responsibility or evaluation. Should a conflict of interest or its appearance arise, it is each party’s responsibility to take immediate steps to remove the conflict consistent with the above actions.


Responsible Office and/or Policy Owner: Office of Human Resources



  • None



Change/Review/Approval Date:

Policy Effective Date/Approved by Cabinet:  08/14/2017