07-06.30 – Consensual Relations with Students

  1. Policy:

    Towson University seeks to maintain a professional and ethical educational environment. Actions of faculty members, professional staff members, and academic administrators that are unprofessional or appear to be unprofessional are inconsistent with the University’s educational mission. It is essential that those in a position of authority not abuse, nor appear to abuse, the power with which they are entrusted.

  2. Responsible Executive and Office:

    Responsible Executive:
    Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

    Responsible Office:
    Office of Academic Affairs 

  3. Entities Affected by this Policy:

    This Policy applies to: faculty members, meaning all persons with teaching or instructional responsibility; graduate students with teaching or instructional responsibility; professional staff; and academic administrators who exercise power over students, whether by teaching, grading, evaluating, or making recommendations for their future studies or employment (collectively “Covered Employees”). 

  4. Prohibited Conduct: 

    1. A dating or sexual relationship between a Covered Employee and a student is prohibited when the Covered Employee has any current or foreseeable professional responsibility for the student. Voluntary consent by the student in such a relationship is suspect, given the fundamental nature of such a relationship. Moreover, other students may be affected by such behavior, because it places the Covered Employee in a position to favor or advance one student’s interest to the potential detriment of others. Therefore, it is deemed unprofessional and a violation of University policy for a Covered Employee to engage in a dating or sexual relationship with a student whom he/she instructs, evaluates, supervises, or advises, or over whom he/she is in a position to exercise authority in any way. 

    2. Should a person involved in an existing relationship with a Covered Employee enroll in the University, the Covered Employee must recuse herself or himself from an academic relationship with that person. In the event the recusal results in the denial of access to an academic program, the University will arrange an appropriate accommodation, including excepting the Covered Employee from this Policy to permit access. Any accommodation will be within the discretion of the Provost or designee. 

  5. Policy Violation:

    A violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action including dismissal for unprofessional conduct. Policies set forth in Chapter 6, Faculty Handbook, will apply to Faculty who violate this Policy. Disciplinary actions against graduate students, professional staff, and academic administrators who violate this Policy will be governed by the disciplinary rules and policies applicable to such persons.

  6. Contact:

    Contact the Office of Academic Affairs for more information.

Related Policies:

Policies included in Chapter 6 (“Separation”) of the 2018-2019 Faculty Handbook:

TU Policy 02-01.00, Policy on Appointment, Rank and Tenure of Faculty

USM Policy II-1.04, Policy on Procedures for Appeals to the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents of Decisions to Terminate Tenured or Tenure-Track Faculty Members

Towson University Retrenchment Policy and Procedures

Authorization: President’s Council

Approval Date: 10/11/04

Effective Date: 10/11/04

Signed By: President’s Council

How to Request the Policy PDF

This online version of the policy may include updated links and names of departments. To request a PDF of the original, signed version of this policy, email the Office of the General Counsel, .