JHU Personal Relationships Policy goes into effect

Document outlines how to avoid conflicts of interest and potential negative impacts

Johns Hopkins University is asking all faculty, staff, and students to become familiar with a Personal Relationships Policy that goes into effect July 1. The policy was developed with input from the university community, including in-person and online feedback to a draft policy that was circulated publicly in the spring. It provides guidance on how to avoid conflicts of interest and potential negative impacts on both the integrity of student-teacher relationships and the workplace climate.

The full policy, including an explanation of the rationale and goals, is in the university's Policy & Document Library.

In summary, university affiliates may not have academic or professional influence (including teaching, grading, evaluating, supervising, or influencing progress to graduation) over someone with whom they have a personal relationship, including a family relationship or a dating, romantic, or sexual relationship.

If two individuals have a personal relationship, or had one in the past, they must avoid any situation involving academic or professional influence through a written disclosure and recusal process. The person with the authority is primarily responsible for this action.

Examples of guidance outlined in the policy include:

  • No dating, romantic, or sexual relationships are allowed between faculty members and undergraduate students. Influence is understood to be present, regardless of whether there is direct academic authority.

  • Faculty may not have influence over nonundergraduate trainees with whom they have/had a personal relationship.

  • Staff members may not have influence, including as a coach, administrator, or other role, over any student or trainee with whom they have/had a personal relationship.

  • Students may not have authority as a teacher, teaching assistant, grader, research supervisor, or similar role over another student with whom they have/had a personal relationship.

  • Employees, whether faculty or staff, may not have professional influence over another employee with whom they have/had a personal relationship.

University leaders have asked each division to incorporate the policy into their faculty, student, and staff handbooks and orientation materials. Individuals are encouraged to discuss questions or concerns related to the policy with their department head, staff supervisor, dean's office, or Human Resources representative.

Concerns about a violation of the policy can be reported by calling the compliance line at 844-773-2528.

Posted in News+Info