Office of the Provost

Steps to Follow for Academic Administrators

Faculty-Student Relationships Policy (SPG 601.22)

When one of the parties discloses a potential conflict

Disclosure from a faculty member who is having (or has had) a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a student

1. Seek consultation/guidance as needed (at any stage in the process)

--Contact dean’s office

--Dean’s office may wish to consult with the Office of the Provost, the Office of Academic Human Resources, or the Office of Institutional Equity

2. Determine whether the faculty member has supervisory responsibility for the student that creates a conflict.

See FAQs “When a Faculty Member Discloses a Relationship

IF YES / CONFLICT EXISTS: Proceed to step #3

IF NO / NO CONFLICT EXISTS: No further action needed

3. Inform the dean’s office about the conflict

4. With the appropriate person in the dean’s office, explore options for alternative supervision that would remove the conflict. Note: Do not disclose the details of the case. Focus instead on the fact that a conflict exists that you are trying to resolve.

See FAQs “Attempting to Resolve Conflicts

5. Determine whether alternative supervision exists that will protect the student and that all necessary parties are willing to agree with.

IF YES / PARTIES HAVE AGREED TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION PLAN:

Proceed to step #6

IF NO / NO CONFLICT RESOLUTION PLAN IS FEASIBLE.

Inform faculty member that since there is no feasible plan for resolving the conflict, he or she must end the romantic and/or sexual relationship until he or she no longer has supervisory responsibility for the student and is unlikely to have supervisory responsibility for him or her in the future. Note: The dean’s office should communicate this decision to the faculty member in writing and place a copy of the letter in the faculty member’s personnel file.

6. Develop and finalize a written conflict resolution plan
See FAQs “Developing Conflict Resolution Plans

See Sample Agreement to Resolve a Conflict of Interest

7. Maintain records
See FAQs “Keeping Records 

Disclosure from a student who is having (or has had) a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a faculty member

1. Seek consultation/guidance as needed (at any stage in the process)

--Contact dean’s office

--Dean’s office may wish to consult with the Office of the Provost, the Office of Academic Human Resources, or the Office of Institutional Equity.

2. Meet with the faculty member to discuss the situation. Tell the faculty member only that the student told you that she or he is having or has had in the past a romantic and/or sexual relationship with the faculty member. To protect the student’s privacy, don’t share with the faculty member any additional information the student provided.

IF YES / FACULTY MEMBER DISCLOSES CONFLICT:

Return to the first page of this document and follow steps #3-7.

IF NO / FACULTY MEMBER DENIES ALLEGATION:

2a. Academic administrator contacts dean’s office

2b. Dean’s office contacts the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) for consultation and possible collaboration.

2c. Academic administrator and/or dean’s office takes agreed-upon next steps, possibly in collaboration with the OIE.

When a third party reports a potential conflict

1. Seek consultation/guidance as needed (at any stage in the process)

--Contact dean’s office

--Dean’s office may wish to consult with the Office of the Provost, the Office of Academic Human Resources, or the Office of Institutional Equity

2. Determine whether the faculty member has supervisory responsibility for the student and, if so, whether a romantic and/or sexual relationship exists (and therefore, whether a conflict exists) Notes:

  • Meet with the faculty member first (not the student).
  • At the initial meeting with the faculty member, do not identify the third party or parties who made the allegation. Focus instead on your need to determine whether a conflict exists so that if it does, you can take the necessary steps to resolve it.

IF YES / FACULTY MEMBER DISCLOSES CONFLICT:

Proceed to step #3.

IF NO / FACULTY MEMBER DENIES ALLEGATION:

2a. Academic administrator contacts dean’s office

2b. Dean’s office contacts the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) for consultation and possible collaboration.

2c. Academic administrator and/or dean’s office takes agreed-upon next steps, possibly in collaboration with the OIE.

3. Inform the dean’s office about the conflict

4. With the appropriate person in the dean’s office, explore options for alternative supervision that would remove the conflict. Note: Do not disclose the details of the case. Focus instead on the fact instead that a conflict exists that you are trying to resolve.

5. Determine whether alternative supervision exists that will protect the student and that all necessary parties are willing to agree with.

IF YES / PARTIES HAVE AGREED TO PLAN TO RESOLVE CONFLICT:

Proceed to step #6.

IF NO / NO CONFLICT RESOLUTION PLAN IS FEASIBLE.

Inform faculty member that since there is no feasible plan for resolving the conflict, he or she must end the romantic and/or sexual relationship until he or she no longer has supervisory responsibility for the student and is unlikely to have supervisory responsibility for him or her in the future. Note: The dean’s office should communicate this decision to the faculty member in writing and place a copy of the letter in the faculty member’s personnel file.

6. Develop and finalize a written conflict resolution plan
See FAQs “Developing Conflict Resolution Plans

See Sample Agreement to Resolve a Conflict of Interest

7. Maintain records

See FAQs “Keeping Records

8. Communicate with third party.

  • Communicate face to face, not in writing.
  • Maintain confidentiality; do not communicate the details of the outcome.
  • Instead, inform the third party that you have followed up on the concern in a way that’s consistent with University policy and procedures.
  • Thank the person(s) for bringing the matter to your attention and ask him or her to contact you again if there are any unresolved issues.

Additional Resources

In addition to the resources offered by your department, school or college, there are several University offices that can provide assistance and guidance during this process:

Office of the Provost
3074 Fleming Administration Building
www.provost.umich.edu
(734) 764-0151

Lori Pierce, Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs
ljpierce@umich.edu

The Provost’s Office offers guidance and support on all faculty matters, including Faculty-Student Relationships.


Academic Human Resources
2072 Administrative Services Building
1009 Greene Street
http://hr.umich.edu/acadhr/
(734) 763-8938

Jeffrey Frumkin, Associate Vice Provost and Senior Director
jfrumkin@umich.edu

This office can provide guidance on plan development, the applicability of sanctions, and other faculty human resource issues.


Office of Institutional Equity
2072 Administrative Services Building
1009 Greene Street
www.umich.edu/~hraa/oie
(734) 763-0235

Anthony Walesby, Associate Vice Provost and Senior Director
walesby@umich.edu

This office is charged with reviewing matters of alleged Faculty-Student Relationships that have not been disclosed by a faculty member.