5.4 Examples of Prohibited Relationships Between Instructors and Students

The following examples are provided for illustrative purposes only. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of situations in which this policy applies.

  1. Student B is in a class taught by Professor A. The Policy on Consensual Relationships prohibits a romantic or sexual relationship between these two parties in the instructional context. When the class has concluded and Professor A has submitted the final grades, this policy continues to prohibit Professor A from engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with Student B, if Professor A continues to instruct, evaluate, or supervise, directly or indirectly, Student B's academic work or participation in a University program.
  2. Professor A and Student B, a graduate student in Professor A's department, are involved in a romantic relationship. Because they are involved in a romantic relationship, this policy prohibits Professor A from instructing, evaluating, or supervising, directly or indirectly, Student A's academic work or participation in a University program.
  3. Graduate Student C and Graduate Student D are married and enrolled in the same academic program. This policy prohibits D from enrolling in a class taught by C (as instructor, teaching assistant, or grader) and vice-versa. If C (or D) were to complete his or her graduate program and acquire the status of faculty member (or other instructional personnel) in the same department, this policy would apply as in paragraph b above.
  4. Graduate Student C has been working in Professor A's research laboratory since C enrolled at The University of Iowa. In order to comply with the Policy on Consensual Relationships, Professor A planned to wait until C had completed the graduate degree program before considering a romantic relationship with C. If Student C were to receive a postdoctorate research appointment, this policy would still prohibit Professor A from becoming involved in a romantic relationship with Student C if Professor A is involved in instructing, evaluating, or supervising, directly or indirectly, Student C's postdoctorate research work or participation in a University program.
  5. Coach A is romantically attracted to Student B, an athlete (scholarship or walk-on) on the team for which Coach A is an assistant coach. Under this policy, Coach A is considered to be an instructor and is prohibited from engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with any member of the team coached or otherwise overseen.
  6. Professor A from Department Z is dating Student B, who is majoring in Department Y. Student B is not enrolled in a course taught by Professor A. However, Student B has applied for a collegiate scholarship that is awarded by a committee on which Professor A is serving. Under this policy, Professor A must self-disclose the relationship to the scholarship committee chair and is prohibited from evaluating Student B's scholarship application.
  7. Student X, who is enrolled in a course taught by Professor A, schedules a meeting with the DEO of Professor A's department in order to report that Professor A is apparently engaged in a consensual relationship with another student (Student B) in the class. During the interview, Student X tells the DEO that he or she overheard Professor A tell Student B that Professor A would give Student B an "A" grade for the course if Student B agreed to have sexual relations with Professor A. The DEO realizes that the apparent "quid pro quo" fact pattern alleges a violation of the Policy on Sexual Harassment, which takes precedence over the Policy on Consensual Relationships allegations. Thus, according to University policy, the DEO is required to investigate first Student X's complaint under the Policy on Sexual Harassment procedures. Once the sexual harassment complaint is resolved, the consensual relationships allegation is revisited and resolved under the Policy on Consensual Relationships procedures.

These examples illustrate the application of this policy, which (as stated in II-5.3 above) applies only to relationships involving students. However, romantic and/or sexual relationships in other contexts may also be problematic and are governed by III-8 Conflict of Interest in Employment.