Section 17. Consensual Sexual Relations Between Faculty Members and Students

The responsible administrator for this section is the Office of the Provost and Dean of Faculty. Amherst College faculty have approval authority.

The integrity of the faculty-student relationship is at the core of Amherst College’s educational mission. This relationship vests considerable trust in the faculty member, who in turn bears authority and accountability as a mentor, educator, and evaluator. The college prohibits consensual sexual relations between faculty members and students who are enrolled at Amherst College and/or in Amherst College courses. Such relations compromise the integrity of the educational process and may place the student and sometimes the faculty member in a vulnerable position, reduce the instructor’s impartiality, and create a disruptive learning environment for all students. Simply having faculty members recuse themselves from supervising, evaluating, advising, or teaching students with whom they had or have consensual sexual relations is not sufficient; doing so deprives those students of educational, advising, and career opportunities and does not address the impacts on other students or other members of the educational community.

Faculty members who have general questions about this policy or concerns about an alleged violation of it may contact the provost and dean of the faculty. Alleged violations of this policy are resolved using the formal or informal procedures outlined in Faculty Handbook (III., I.). For purposes of this policy, the definition of faculty in the Faculty Handbook (II., C.) applies.

Students who have general questions about this policy or concerns about a past or ongoing relationship may contact the dean of students (voted by the faculty, March 3, 2020).