Frequently Asked Questions about Amorous Relationships and Nepotism

These FAQs supplement the policies on Amorous Relationships (III.A.1) and Nepotism (III.B.3).

  1. If two individuals work in the same department or college, and one of them has a higher position within the department but doesn't directly supervise the other, are they prohibited from being in an amorous relationship?
  2. If I had an amorous relationship with someone before they became my supervisor, and the relationship has been over for a while, do I need to report it now that they supervise me?
  3. Amorous relationships are prohibited between students and anyone with educational responsibility over the student. Does this include anyone other than faculty, TAs and RAs?
  4. Is a one-night stand considered an amorous relationship?
  5. I am a faculty member, and a graduate student that I'm in an amorous relationship with needs a class in order to graduate that only I teach. What can we do?
  6. At a party, I hooked up with someone in my department, but we stopped before things went very far. I'm not his supervisor, but I have a say in our department's promotion process. Do we have to report what happened?
  7. I am the PI for a project and would like to have my daughter, who is a graduate student, work on the project with me. Is this okay?
  8. When I reviewed my class roster for the coming semester, I noticed that my nephew will be one of my students. Is this allowed?
  9. Is there a form that my department needs to use when requesting an exception to the nepotism policy?
  10. Does the nepotism prohibition pertain to all individuals in the organizational line when applied to the academic setting?
  11. Why are co-curricular activities included in the nepotism prohibition?

Q 1. If two individuals work in the same department or college, and one of them has a higher position within the department but doesn’t directly supervise the other, are they prohibited from being in an amorous relationship?

A supervisor includes someone's immediate supervisor and all supervisors at higher levels within the organizational lines of the particular department or unit of employment. If the individuals are in the same organizational line then an amorous relationship is prohibited.

Q 2. If I had an amorous relationship with someone before they became my supervisor, and the relationship has been over for a while, do I need to report it now that they supervise me?

Yes. Even though the relationship is over, it may be appropriate to bring the fact that a previous relationship existed to the attention of the individual above your supervisor. Doing so allows for alternate arrangements to be made to prevent issues in the workplace.

Q 3. Amorous relationships are prohibited between students and anyone with educational responsibility over the student. Does this include anyone other than faculty, TAs and RAs?

Yes. Additional individuals with educational supervision and evaluation authority over students include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Coaches, assistant coaches
  • Academic advisors
  • Employees within the Office of the Dean of Students
  • Employees involved in financial aid awarding and administration
  • Principal investigators

Q 4. Is a one-night stand considered an amorous relationship?

Yes, so it must be reported.

Q 5. I am a faculty member, and a graduate student that I'm in an amorous relationship with needs a class in order to graduate that only I teach. What can we do?

Disclose the relationship to the department head, who will determine the appropriate course of action.

Q 6. At a party, I hooked up with someone in my department, but we stopped before things went very far. I'm not his supervisor, but I have a say in our department's promotion process. Do we have to report what happened?

You need to let your coworker's supervisor know that the two of you had a brief amorous relationship, because you have influence in his employment progress and potential. Details of what happened aren't necessary, but arrangements will need to be made to ensure there are no issues in the workplace.

Q 7. I am the PI for a project and would like to have my daughter, who is a graduate student, work on the project with me. Is this okay?

No. A PI has administrative authority over everyone else working on the project. Therefore, in the absence of a waiver, individuals with whom you have a personal relationship cannot work on the project.

Q 8. When I reviewed my class roster for the coming semester, I noticed that my nephew will be one of my students. Is this allowed?

No. Faculty members, TAs and RAs are prohibited from having evaluative supervision over anyone with whom they have a personal relationship. Arrangements will need to be made for your nephew to take a different section of the class.

Q 9. Is there a form that my department needs to use when requesting an exception to the nepotism policy?

No. A memo or letter format is preferred. Be sure to clearly explain why an exception is desired and include all required approval signatures, as noted in the policy's appendix.

Q10. Does the nepotism prohibition pertain to all individuals in the organizational line when applied to the academic setting?

No. Only those who directly assess or influence the student.

Q11. Why are co-curricular activities included in the nepotism prohibition?

Opportunities for students in co-curricular activities should not be based upon or influenced by family relationships any more than research, scholarship, or athletics. Prohibiting nepotism between coaches/supervisors and students promotes fairness and impartiality in these University-sanctioned activities.

In addition, students often ask the coaches and supervisors of their co-curricular activities for reference letters, which can have a direct influence over the student’s academic progress and opportunities.

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