Non-Discrimination and Harassment

Stanbridge University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ethnic group identification, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition, military service, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or on any other basis prohibited by law.  The university is committed to providing equal opportunities to all individuals in all programs and activities which it conducts.

Individuals who feel they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment through words or actions, including intimidation, or bullying, may file a complaint with the Office of Student Services.

Fraternization Policy

Consensual Relationships

Stanbridge University is committed to the principle that the learning and working environment of its students, employees, and guests should be free from sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual conduct.  Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is illegal and is proscribed by institutional policy.  All employees and students are accountable for compliance with this policy.  Established violations will lead to disciplinary actions which may include termination of employment or permanent dismissal of a student from the university.  This policy applies to all officers, administrators, and supervisors; regular, contract and temporary faculty members; and teaching assistants, staff members and students. This policy also pertains to actions that affect any employee, student, or guest of Stanbridge University.

Professional Risks

It is in the interest of Stanbridge University to provide clear direction and educational opportunities to the university community about the professional risks associated with consensual/romantic or consensual/sexual relationships between members of the university community where a conflict of interest and/or a power differential between the parties exists. A consensual relationship is defined as a romantic and/or social engagement arranged by personal invitation between two individuals or arranged by a third party. Romantic relationship is defined in this policy as a mutually desired courting activity between two unmarried individuals.

Individuals entering such relationships must recognize that:

  1. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST may arise when such relationships occur between and among faculty or staff and students. University policies and ethical principles preclude individuals from evaluating the academic performance of others with whom they have consensual/romantic or consensual/sexual relationships.
  2. POWER DIFFERENTIALS between the parties in consensual/romantic or consensual/sexual relationships may cause serious consequences even when conflicts of interest are resolved. Individuals entering into such relationships must recognize that:s for entering, maintaining, or terminating such a relationship may be a function of the power differential;

where power differentials exist, even in a seemingly consensual relationship, there are limited after-the-fact defenses against charges of sexual harassment. Furthermore, under certain situations, consensual relationships may be outside the scope of employment for university employees and, if so, an individual would not be covered by the university’s liability protection in subsequent litigation.

Consensual/Romantic or Consensual/Sexual Relationships

A consensual/romantic or consensual/sexual relationship between individuals who occupy different levels of authority in the university automatically and inevitably carries the potential for evolving into a sexual harassment case of very serious implications, either from a subsequent change of attitude by the subordinate partner or from a contemporary complaint from a disadvantaged third party. Relationships of this sort are against university policy and forbidden in those instances in which the partner with higher status and/or power has explicit or implicit authority over, or the power to reward or punish, the partner with lower status and/or power.   It follows that consensual/romantic or consensual/sexual relationships between staff or faculty members and students are also forbidden and against university policy.

Reporting Policy

Where a conflict of interest exists, or may exist, in the context of a consensual/romantic or consensual/ sexual relationship, both individuals shall notify their instructor or immediate supervisor. In conjunction with the university administration, the instructor or supervisor shall have the responsibility for making arrangements to eliminate or mitigate a conflict whose consequences might prove detrimental to the university or to either party in the relationship, including action which may result in termination of an employee of the university or dismissal of a student. The instructor, supervisor and university administrator shall act with the proviso that it is almost always the case that the individual with the power or status advantage in the relationship will bear the burden of accountability.