1.10 Relationships Policy
Applicability and Scope
This policy applies to all Berklee employees and others engaged to perform services at or for Berklee, including, but not limited to, full- and part-time faculty and staff, temporary employees, administrators who teach, guest lecturers, and anyone functioning as faculty. It prohibits dating, romantic, or sexual relationships between Berklee students and those working for or on behalf of Berklee, as well as between supervisory employees and those who report within the same line of management, with limited exceptions as set forth in the policy.
Berklee, including Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Berklee Valencia, and Berklee Online, is committed to maintaining an environment where the education of students is of the greatest importance. Dating, romantic, or sexual relationships between students and Berklee faculty, staff members, or others engaged by Berklee, even if consensual, can negatively affect the educational environment for students. Power differentials, real or perceived, can diminish a student’s ability to give meaningful consent to such a relationship. A faculty or staff member’s ability to teach, evaluate, advise, or provide Berklee services to a student without partiality is suspect when the faculty or staff member and the student have a dating, romantic, or sexual relationship. Even when the faculty or staff member and student act with integrity, others may perceive bias, partiality, or influence. Furthermore, the dissolution of these relationships can create discord and significantly impair normal operations at Berklee.
For these reasons, dating, romantic, or sexual relationships between students, including undergraduate, graduate, online, summer, or other Berklee program students, and faculty, staff members, or others engaged by Berklee (excluding only employees who are engaged solely as work-study students) are prohibited, including relationships that occur when Berklee is not in session or students are on leave.
On occasion, a faculty or staff member will have a preexisting dating, romantic, or sexual relationship, or a marriage with an individual who then becomes a student. Similarly, an individual with such a preexisting relationship with a current student will join the faculty or staff. It is the obligation of the faculty or staff member to disclose that relationship or marriage to the vice president of Human Resources in advance of beginning employment or, if already employed, in advance of the matriculation of the student with whom they have a relationship. Similarly, it is the obligation of any other person engaged to perform other services for Berklee to disclose such preexisting relationships.
It is the obligation of the vice president of Human Resources or their designee to take the steps that they deem necessary to ensure that the educational experience of the student, and other students at Berklee, is not adversely affected by the dating, romantic, sexual, or marital relationship. In doing so, the vice president of Human Resources or their designee will (i) confer with the respective dean (for faculty) or the respective supervisor (for staff), (ii) speak separately with the student and the faculty or staff member, and (iii) document steps taken, and communicate decisions in writing to the student and faculty or staff member. Since individual cases may vary, the vice president of Human Resources has discretion to consider specific circumstances (e.g., the nature of the relationship, the specifics of the student’s academic program, the faculty or staff member’s responsibilities, constraints on the student’s program of study, and whether the preexisting relationship arose as a result of the individual’s position with Berklee) in fashioning these steps. The steps can range from no action to the recusal of the faculty or staff member from matters involving the student to changes in the faculty or staff member’s teaching, advising, service, or other duties.
In addition, Berklee prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between managers and employees within the reporting line of management. Such relationships raise concerns about favoritism, bias, conflicts of interest, unfair treatment, and the validity of consent. If a complaint against a faculty or staff member related to such romantic or sexual involvement is found to have merit, that faculty or staff member may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.
Even if two employees are involved in a romantic, sexual relationship, but are not within the same direct reporting line, Berklee reserves the right to transfer, if another position for which the employee is best qualified is available, or terminate the employment of either employee if the relationship becomes disruptive or creates a conflict in the workplace.
On occasion, a faculty or staff member will have a preexisting dating, romantic, or sexual relationship, or marriage with an individual who then becomes a faculty or staff member. It is the obligation of the active faculty or staff member to disclose that relationship or marriage to the vice president of Human Resources in advance of the beginning employment of the individual with whom they have a relationship. Human Resources shall take appropriate steps consistent with this policy to ensure there is no responsibility to hire, promote, discipline, evaluate, assign, or direct.
Nothing in this policy shall be deemed as supplanting Berklee’s Equity Policy, Standards of Conduct, or other related Berklee policies, which will apply by their terms, regardless of any disclosure made or steps taken under this policy. Community members are free at any time to raise any concerns or complaints related to such relationships.
Faculty or staff members who violate this policy are subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment. Complaints of violations of this policy should be made to the vice president of Human Resources.
Berklee reserves the right to amend, suspend, or cancel this policy at any time, with or without notice.