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Athletics Staff/Student-Athlete Amorous Relationships Policy


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Table of Contents

Purpose
Definitions
Scope and Policy Requirements
Enforcement


Purpose

The purposes of this policy are: (1) to provide a safe and healthy environment for student-athletes so that they may reach their full potential as students and as athletes; and (2) to ensure that all coaches and other athletics department staff adhere to ethical practices and do not develop inappropriate relationships with student-athletes, regardless of their age or consent.

Definitions

Coach:  Any person working as a head coach, associate/assistant coach, graduate assistant coach, intern coach, or volunteer coach in the athletics department.

Staff:  Any employee, student-tutor, student-trainer, student-mentor or paid intern working in or for the athletics department in an administrative, management, or support capacity, or in any capacity in which they have "supervisory control" over student-athletes or have responsibility for the provision of services or other benefits to student-athletes.  

Supervisory control: Includes any responsibility with the potential to affect the student-athlete's participation in the athletics program, and includes the provision of direct services and benefits to the student-athlete, such as: training, playing time, health services, academic and student life program support, tutoring, counseling, eligibility determinations, program compliance, and control over the student-athlete's team.  

Student-athlete:  Any student who is a member of a varsity athletics team as defined by Pacific and/or NCAA regulations.  This policy also applies to any member of the Pacific Tiger Dancers, and non-Pacific student-athletes (high school, club, junior college or university level) with whom a coach or staff member may come into contact during Pacific or non-Pacific training, camps, lessons or in any other capacity.  

Amorous relationship:  Any sexual, romantic, intimate or dating relationship.

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Scope and Policy Requirements

This policy strictly prohibits amorous relationships between any coach or staff member and any student-athlete. Every coach and staff member has an ethical obligation to maintain a professional relationship with student-athletes and to place the well-being of student-athletes ahead of the coach's or staff member's personal interests. This responsibility includes the duty to provide a safe and healthy environment for the student-athlete to flourish, and to serve as a role model within the confines of a professional relationship. As a result, no amorous relationship between a coach or staff member and a student-athlete can exist without jeopardizing the professionalism of the relationship with the student.  The respect and trust the student-athlete places in a coach and athletics' staff, and the vulnerability of the student-athlete in that relationship, make "consent" unreliable and therefore irrelevant in this setting.  Conflicts of interest are endemic to amorous relationships between coaches or athletics' staff and student-athletes, and the costs to the athlete, the team, the athletics program, and the University, necessitate a strict prohibition of amorous relationships between coaches or athletics' staff and student-athletes.

Even when the coach or athletics' staff member has no direct professional responsibility for that student-athlete, other student-athletes may perceive that the student-athlete who has an amorous relationship with a coach or athletics' staff member may receive preferential treatment from the coach or staff member and/or their colleagues.  Such relationships are incompatible with the ethical obligations of coaches and staff members and the integrity of the athletics program.  Accordingly, the prohibition applies to relationships between all coaches or staff members and all student-athletes.   

The prohibition on amorous relationships shall remain in effect for one full year after the end of the final academic year in which the student-athlete was a participant on a team, or in a program, training, or camp.

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Enforcement

Reporting a Violation.  Any person may allege a violation of this policy by contacting the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Student-Athlete Services and Compliance or the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Affairs.  Or if the person does not feel comfortable making the report to a person within the athletics department, to the Title IX Coordinator.  Any coach, staff member or student with information suggesting a possible violation of this policy must promptly report it, and failure to do so will be considered a violation of athletics department policy.  

Investigation.  Upon receipt of a report, the University will immediately undertake an investigation as outlined in the University's Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct Discrimination and Retaliation .    

Disciplinary Action.  If Pacific determines that a coach or staff member has violated this policy, the coach or staff member shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  Student-athletes found to have engaged in a relationship which violates this policy generally will not be subject to disciplinary action given the power imbalance inherent in amorous relationships with student-athletes.  

Confidentiality.  Complaints, reports and information related to possible violations of this policy shall be handled as confidentially as possible without jeopardizing the enforcement or this policy and the University's Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Retaliation.  Information received in connection with a suspected violation of this policy shall be disseminated only on a "need to know" basis; that is, only when necessary to ensure compliance with the policy and/or to ensure the safety of student-athletes or others who come in contact with the athletics program.  

Retaliation.  Any retaliation for reporting a violation of this policy, or for participating in good faith in any investigation of a violation of this policy, is strictly prohibited.  Any persons taking retaliatory action in violation of this policy shall themselves be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal.  Retaliation occurs when an individual (staff member, employee, student or intern) suffers an adverse consequence because they exercised a right protected by Pacific.  Protected rights include making complaints and participating in investigations.  Adverse consequences include employment actions, such as demotion or discipline, as well as negative treatment of students (threats or intimidation) or loss of student/athletic privileges.  

Exceptions.  Nothing in this policy prevents student-athletes from dating one another or other students not affiliated with Pacific's athletics programs.

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About This Policy
Last Updated
1/1/2016
Original Issue Date
1/1/2016

Responsible Department
Athletics