Still, adhering to policy didn’t inoculate Saloner from being implicated in a lawsuit, or the related media scrutiny -- including a story in .And outside experts said they weren’t surprised, since these relationships transcend regulation.Resignation and litigation at Stanford point to complications when an administrator has a relationship with a faculty member in his or her unit, but few colleges have formal policies about such situations.With the changing scope of federal regulations and increased scrutiny regarding sexual assault and harassment on college campuses, more and more institutions are strongly discouraging and even banning consensual romantic relationships between students and faculty members.If someone raised the issue, Mc Cord added, “they would probably be counseled to take the same approach." In other words, the individual in the supervisory role should recuse himself or herself from oversight. Cotton, vice president of higher education for ML Strategies and a leading negotiator of contracts for senior administrators in higher education, said supervisor-employee relations are “never a wise course for people because you have disparity of power between you, and when there’s a breakup it could be alleged by the person being supervised that the supervisor did something wrong.” These relationships can be equally harmful to the subordinate, he added.Supervisors have the ability to promote or demote, and they’ve also got a say in discussions about compensation.This comes up most often at the departmental level when, for example, one faculty member who is married to another faculty member becomes chair, he said.
For example, he took issue with the idea that all faculty members “report” to deans. "I love my dean and give him the time of day but I've been here 33 years and outlived six or seven deans.
Experts say that while these relationships tend to be too specific and fluid to fall under any general policy, involved parties should proceed with caution and avoid pairings that may be or even appear to be exploitative or allow for favoritism.
Earlier this week, Garth Saloner, dean of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, announced he was resigning, due in part to a lawsuit against the university brought by a former professor -- one who happened to be the estranged husband of the woman the dean is dating, another professor at the business school.
“The faculty member in the next office could easily be the next department chair or dean or head of the faculty personnel committee,” he said.
“Being a supervisor in higher ed is often more fluid than in many other industries.