Consensual Relations between Faculty and Students

The statement that follows was approved by the Association’s Committee on Women in the Academic Profession, adopted by the Association’s Council in June 1995, and endorsed by the Eighty-first Annual Meeting.


Sexual relations between students and faculty members with whom they also have an academic or evaluative relationship are fraught with the potential for exploitation. The respect and trust accorded a professor by a student, as well as the power exercised by the professor in an academic or evaluative role, make voluntary consent by the student suspect. Even when both parties initially have consented, the development of a sexual relationship renders both the faculty member and the institution vulnerable to possible later allegations of sexual harassment in light of the significant power differential that exists between faculty members and students.

In their relationships with students, members of the faculty are expected to be aware of their professional responsibilities and to avoid apparent or actual conflict of interest, favoritism, or bias.When a sexual relationship exists, effective steps should be taken to ensure unbiased evaluation or supervision of the student.