Worcester State University
Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Equal Opportunity


Consensual Relationships*

Consenting romantic and sexual relationships between faculty and student, librarian and student, administrator and student, classified staff member and student or supervisor and employee are deemed unprofessional. Such relationships interfere with or impair professional responsibilities and interactions, they are looked upon
with disfavor and are strongly discouraged.


Codes of Ethics for most professional associations forbid professional-client sexual relationships. In this context and for purposes of this policy, the professor-student relationship is properly regarded as one of professional and client. The respect and trust accorded a professor by a student, as well as the power exercised by the professor in giving praise or blame, grades, recommendations for future study and employment, and other benefits and opportunities diminish the student’s actual freedom of choice such that relationships thought to be consensual may in fact be the product of implicit coercion. Many elements of the administrator-student, librarian student, classified staff member-student and the supervisor-employee relationship are similar to those of the professor-student relation because of a similar imbalance of power and a similar need of trust. For purposes of this Policy, therefore, these relationships are also discouraged and looked upon with disfavor.


Faculty, librarians, administrators, classified staff members and supervisors are warned against the dangers of apparently consensual relationships. A faculty member, librarian, administrator, or classified staff member who enters into a romantic or sexual relationship with a student, or a supervisor who enters into such a relationship with an employee, where a power differential exists, should be aware of the professional risks. Because it is difficult to prove mutual consent once a sexual harassment complaint is lodged, the College discourages these relationships and they are looked upon with disfavor.


The Title IX regulations require each school to have a designated employee responsible for handling complaints under Title IX, including but not limited to complaints of sexual harassment. The role of the Title IX Coordinator is assigned to:


Dr. Calvin Hill

Director of Diversity/Affirmative Action & Compliance

Worcester State University

Room 335 of the Administration Building

486 Chandler Street

Worcester, MA  01602



Duties and responsibilities: Monitoring and oversight of overall implemention of Title IX Compliance at the University, including coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of grievance procedures for faculty, staff, students and other members of the University community.

Related Links
  WSU Hiring Procedures
  EEO Affirmative Action Policies
  Disability Policy-Diversity
  CORI check
  WSU Student Code of Conduct
  WSU Student Handbook
  WSU Policy for Responding to Sexual Assault
  BHE Action Plan
  VAWA Act Bill S.47
  VAWA Summary of New Law Requirements
  Bill of Campus SaVE Act
  U.S. Dept. of Education Handbook for Campus Safety & Security
  Multicultural Resource Guide

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Phone: 508-929-8000