Professional Relationships Overview
The college is committed to a learning and working environment that fosters respect, integrity, professional behavior, and fair and impartial treatment of students, employees and vendors. The College recognizes that personal relationships do exist, and the majority of such relationships do not have an impact on either the learning environment or the workplace. However, certain consensual romantic, sexual, or other close personal relationships may negatively impact the learning environment and workplace for the following reasons:
- Such relationships may pose an apparent or actual conflict of interest if one of the parties in the relationship has responsibility for supervising, evaluating, directing, or overseeing the other, or has the power to directly influence the other person’s educational, employment, or contractual status;
- Such relationships may result in complaints or concerns of favoritism, and may undermine campus safety, security, or morale, and impede the College’s educational mission;
- Such relationships may also give rise to violations of state and federal anti-discrimination laws and policies, complaints of sexual harassment and hostile work environment, and other actionable claims against the College.
Prohibited Relationships between Supervisory Employees and Subordinates
Ramapo College prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between any employee who is a supervisor or has authority to influence the appointment, employment or promotional status of other employees, and a subordinate in the same unit or direct reporting line, regardless of whether the relationship was entered into with the consent of both parties. In situations where a supervisory employee becomes romantically or sexually involved with a subordinate both employees will be required to immediately disclose the relationship to the Office of Human Resources. Human Resources will work with the employees and the work unit to address and mitigate any potential conflicts. This may include voluntary or involuntary transfer of an employee, changes in responsibilities, activities, or lines of reporting. Should the relationship pose an actual conflict of interest and no other suitable remedy is available, may result in denial of re-appointment or termination of employment for the supervisor.
Prohibited Relationships with Students
Romantic and sexual relationships between College employees and students, even with students who are not subject to direct supervision or evaluation by the faculty or staff member, should be avoided because they may negatively impact the learning environment. Moreover, Ramapo College prohibits all employees from having romantic, sexual, or other close personal relationships with students over whom they have educational evaluation, advisory or supervisory responsibility, regardless of whether the relationship was entered into with the consent of both parties. Such relationships are inconsistent with the proper role of the instructor, administrator or manager in the College’s educational mission, and are susceptible to perceptions of favoritism, unprofessional behavior, and conflicts of interest. In the event that a faculty member or other employee is placed in a position that would require him or her to assume educational instruction, evaluation or supervisory authority over a student with whom he or she has, or has had, a romantic or sexual relationship, he or she shall immediately disclose the identity of the student to the unit head and shall refrain from exercising such authority over the student. The unit administrator shall notify the Office of Human Resources, and shall immediately arrange for another employee to instruct, evaluate or supervise the student. Any employee or student who obtains knowledge of such a romantic or sexual relationship between an employee and a student is required to disclose it to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance for confidential investigation. The Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance Office may notify the Office of Employee Relations and/or the Office of Human Resources for appropriate handling.
Prohibited Relationships with State Vendors
Ramapo College prohibits romantic or sexual or other personal relationships which may be inappropriate between a State vendor and any College employee who is in a position to influence the College’s procurement or renewal of contracts with the State vendor. In situations where such an employee becomes romantically, sexually, or inappropriately involved with a representative or employee of a State vendor due to the nature of their position, the employee shall immediately disclose the relationship to the College Ethics Officer; and shall recuse him or herself from participation in procurement or renewal of contracts involving the State vendor. If appropriate, the Office of Human Resources or Employee Relations may also be notified. The Ethics Officer will work with the employee and the work unit to address and mitigate any potential conflicts of interest.
Employees who fail to disclose consensual relationships as required by this policy or otherwise engage in conduct prohibited by this policy shall be subject to corrective action which may include disciplinary action for conduct unbecoming a state employee or faculty member. In addition, the individual(s) may be subject to sanctions up to and including removal.