Consensual Relationships

Summary

Cornell believes that romantic or sexual relationships between individuals with a power differential can jeopardize the integrity of the mission to provide students with the freedom to pursue academic interests without preferential or unfair treatment, discrimination or bias. As a result, Cornell has updated our Consensual Relationship Policy, Policy 6.3, to state that any member of the Cornell community who has a romantic or sexual relationship with someone they have power over is prohibited from exercising academic or professional authority over that individual.

Romantic or sexual relationships between faculty members or others in positions of authority over students and postgraduates (as defined by this policy) are prohibited whenever those relationships have the potential to interfere with an individual’s right or ability to pursue academic, training, research, or professional interests.

Policy

Cornell University Policy 6.3 defines a consensual relationship as a “romantic and/or sexual relationship willingly undertaken by the parties” and prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between faculty members or others in positions of authority and students and postgraduates under several provisions.  

The policy also describes relationships that are not prohibited, but which require disclosure. 

Related Policy

Cornell University is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and respectful learning, living, and working environment for its students, faculty, and staff and does not discriminate on the basis of protected status, including sex, in the education programs and activities it operates. Admission and employment are included in the requirement not to discriminate in the education program or activity that Cornell University operates. To this end, through this policy, the university provides means to address bias, discrimination, harassment, and sexual and related misconduct. Reporting, understanding, and preventing unacceptable behaviors such as harassment is essential to maintaining our caring community.

See University Policy 6.4 Prohibited Discrimination, Protected-Status Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Assault and Violence,

Learn more about reporting options at the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE) website.

Contact

Janna Lamey
Senior Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life
janna.lamey@cornell.edu