Conflicts of Interest in Graduate Student Appointments
Graduate students are particularly vulnerable to conflicts of interest in employment and instruction that may arise from familial or consensual relationships. When a graduate student who is closely connected with a faculty member in the department as a relative, spouse, or partner in a consensual relationship applies for a teaching or research assistantship, the department and the College must ensure that the decision to appoint or reappoint is based wholly on the record of the applicant.
The faculty member in a consensual, spousal, or familial relationship with an applicant cannot participate in the appointment decision, nor may that faculty member urge the appointment, directly or indirectly, on those who are responsible for the appointment decision. If neutral parties make a positive appointment decision, the DEO or other immediate neutral supervisor develops a mechanism for managing the conflict of interest, as specified under the Policy on Conflict of Interest in Employment (see the Operations Manual, II–18).
It is unethical and prohibited for a faculty member to have an amorous relationship with a student whose academic work he or she is supervising, including work as a teaching or research assistant. (For the University’s Policy on Consensual Relationships Involving Students, see the Operations Manual, II–5).
When such cases arise, DEOs must ensure that the individuals are removed from the supervisory or grading relationship. DEOs must also ensure that faculty and students are advised of their responsibility for informing the DEO when such a relationship exists.