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Intimate Relationships Affecting Supervisory Functions, Teaching and Mentoring


University of the Pacific (the “University”) is committed to maintaining a learning and work environment that is free from harassment and other potentially adverse effects that can arise from intimate relationships among those who serve in supervisory functions, teaching and mentoring at the University.

Intimate relationships in the course of supervisory functions, teaching and mentoring at the University may interfere with the ability of the supervisor, teacher or mentor to act fairly and without favoritism or may contribute to the perception of favoritism by others.

“Intimate Relationships” are defined to include: Dating, marital, romantic, domestic or intimate partner, sexual and similar close personal relationships that may be consensually undertaken by both individuals.

Note:   Such relationships do not include usual and customary socializing at the University not involving the conduct defined above such as: mentor-mentee; supervisor-employee; co-workers; and supervisor-student.

There are inherent risks in any Intimate Relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as supervisor and employee, teacher and student). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not prevent a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of the University Faculty and Staff Handbooks.


For the personal protection of members of the Pacific community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, department chair-faculty, staff-student, supervisor-direct report, administrator-student) are strongly discouraged.

Consensual Intimate Relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role or by virtue of University assigned position or functions reasonably can be expected in the future to provide teaching, mentoring or supervision over the other party are inappropriate. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory, teaching, mentoring or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring the relationship to the immediate attention of their supervisor or the appropriate University administrator and the Assistant Vice President/Director for Human Resources. This disclosure will likely result in removal and reassignment of one person from the teaching, mentoring or supervisory relationship. This self-reporting policy includes graduate, research and teaching assistants and students over whom they have direct responsibility.

While certain relationships are strongly discouraged by this Policy, failure to self-report such relationships to a direct supervisor or the appropriate University administrator and the Assistant Vice President/Director for Human Resources as required may result in disciplinary action.

Note: In all cases (whether or not the two faculty members are within the same department), a faculty member/supervisor must both recuse her/himself from decisions of committees that evaluate the other faculty/supervisee member with whom s/he is or has been in a consensual intimate relationship and identify the reason for recusal. • There may be an occasion when a child or other personal relative of the faculty member, University employee or staff member (who is performing course-related teaching) is enrolled in a University course that the faculty member, employee or staff member is assigned to teach or assist. Should no alternative to this offered course be available, the faculty member, employee or staff member will be in compliance with University policy as long as s/he immediately reports the nature of the relationship does not engage in favoritism to the student and acts appropriately to avoid the appearance of favoritism.


Employee: Anyone employed by the University as faculty, staff or student worker; full-time or part-time regular, or temporary.

Supervisor: Anyone who oversees, directs or evaluates the work of others, including but not limited to managers, administrators, coaches, directors, deans, chairs, advisors, graduate/research/teaching assistants, as well as faculty members in their roles as supervisors of their staff and student workers.

Consequences of Violations

Perceived violations of this policy should be immediately referred to the appropriate Dean, Provost or Vice President, along with the Assistant Vice President/Director for Human Resources. Review of the matter will begin as expeditiously as possible and will be addressed as promptly as possible.

Violations of this Policy will be addressed by the appropriate Dean, Provost or Vice President, along with the Assistant Vice President/Director for Human Resources according to appropriate University disciplinary policies and procedures and may result in disciplinary action. Under certain circumstances, the University’s Policy Statement Regarding Prohibited Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination may be implicated.


Questions regarding this policy should be referred to the Human Resources Department, respectively:

  • Linda Jeffers, AVP for Human Resources, Stockton & Sacramento Campus, at 209 946-2125 or
  •  Kara Bell, HR & Support Ops , San Francisco Campus, at 415.929.6454 or

Distribution and Availability

Effective October, 2013, this Policy is published online on the Human Resources web page of the University; paper copies are available at each campus’ Human Resources Department; a copy is placed in each new employee orientation packet; and each current University employee will be provided a copy of this Policy.

Functional Responsibility

Human Resources on the Stockton campus is responsible for establishing, distributing and overseeing the application of this Policy. Human Resources on each campus is responsible for administering the Policy. In case of doubt as to which Human Resources Department is responsible, please contact Human Resources on the Stockton campus.
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Human Resources