Consensual Relationships

UC Berkeley, has a Policy on Conflicts of Interest Arising out of Consensual Relationships which addresses potential ethical issues that arise when individuals develop romantic or sexual relationships. Consensual relationships where there is a power differential between parties pose potential and real conflicts of interest. Effective steps must be taken to ensure that evaluation or supervision of the faculty member, staff person or student is unbiased and not based on the consensual relationship. employees may date one another when there is no current supervisory relationship between them. Additionally, APM-15 prohibits a faculty member from becoming romantically or sexually involved with students for whom the faculty member has or should expect to have supervisory responsibility.

What is a Consensual relationship?

A consensual relationship, is defined as one in which two individuals are involved by mutual consent in romantic, physically intimate, and/or sexual relations. This definition includes domestic partners and spouses. 

Why are certain relationships prohibited?

Risks: These relationships have the potential to involve

  • Conflict of interest

  • Exploitation

  • Favoritism

  • Bias