University at Buffalo Council members have unanimously adopted a sexual-harassment policy that takes no stance on faculty or staff in supervisory positions dating students or other subordinates.
But the policy includes clear procedures for anyone who participates in UB programs and activities to complain about unwelcome sexual behavior.
"What we have in place now is state rules and SUNY policy on sexual harassment," UB President William R. Greiner told Council members in recommending adoption of a further, UB-specific policy.
"Our policy fits within established policies of the state and SUNY and comports clearly with New York and federal rule so there is no conflict," he said.
Each State University of New York campus is developing its own sexual-harassment policy to complement state and federal laws and SUNY policy, to protect each institution individually from liability, Greiner noted.
UB's policy, adopted Thursday, includes the availability of sexual-harassment information advisers trained by the university's office of equity, diversity and affirmative action administration.
"We are relatively late in doing this," Greiner said of today's heightened awareness of what is and what isn't acceptable behavior.
"This is to guide and to educate," he said. "We have some people here who don't even realize that what they are doing is no longer acceptable behavior."
While UB's sexual harassment policy does not rule on relations between faculty and students, an "alert" recently approved by UB's Faculty Senate warns instructional staff that romantic involvement with a student can lead to professional problems.
The alert says in part:
"Members of the teaching staff should be aware that any romantic involvement with their students may lead to formal action against them if a complaint is registered by a student."