Policy Update: Ethical Conduct and Performance — Romantic Relationships

In this Policy Update series, you’ll receive information about recently updated, repealed or approved policies to ensure you are kept abreast of key policy changes. We are excited to provide you with relevant and timely policy information to assist you in your role and your team’s contributions to the College.

By Michelle Sever, Director, Human Resources Policy and Compliance

College Policy 6Hx28: 3E-05.2 Ethical Conduct and Performance was created in 2014 through a collaborative work team consisting of faculty, staff, human resources and general counsel representatives. The policy established foundation standards of professional and ethical conduct for all College employees to include the reporting of real or perceived conflicts of interest.

Since the implementation of this policy, a number of situations have occurred for which the policy was used to determine whether specific employee conduct was a conflict of interest. The concerns specifically related to relationships between faculty and students or supervisors and direct reports. Although the policy does prohibit these real or perceived conflicts of interest, due to instances in recent years, conversations were raised to more directly express the College’s position on these matters.

College President Sandy Shugart requested the partnership of Al Groccia, faculty association president, and Bill Mullowney, vice president, policy and general counsel, to reconvene a review team of faculty and staff to review existing policy language relating to romantic relationships and conflicts of interest and provide recommendations to support academic integrity and promote a safe learning environment.

In February 2018, Valencia’s District Board of Trustees approved modifications to the Ethical Conduct and Performance policy and procedure. The policy explicitly prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between supervisors and their subordinates or between faculty members and their students during the time the supervisor or faculty member has direct supervision, management or influence on the subordinate’s professional progress or student’s academic progress.

The procedure portion of the policy provides guidance on whom to report these concerns or violations. Supervisors who have knowledge or gain knowledge through their supervised employees are encouraged to contact Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR) at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).

For more information, please refer to 6Hx28: 3E-05.2 Ethical Conduct and Performance or ODHR via the contact information above.

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