NEW BRUNSWICK — Rutgers University is moving forward on a recommendation to  ban "relationships where there is a significant power differential" between university employees and students.

The Report of the Rutgers University Committee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Culture Change was created by 45 faculty and staff members who met during the school year to consider ways consensual relationships, bringing greater transparency to reporting and findings of harassment, training for faculty and staff, and assessment of the effectiveness of the university's  approaches.

Barbara A. Lee, Rutgers senior vice president for academic affairs, told NJ.com she has taken steps to implement the ban on consensual relationships. Rutgers sexual harassment policy currently "discourages" the practice.

In a letter to the Rutgers community, Lee said "a new policy would prohibit relationships between employees or University affiliates and undergraduates; between employees or affiliates who supervise, evaluate, teach, manage, or advise graduate students; between intercollegiate athletics coaches or club coaches, affiliates, and their staff and student athletes; and between employees or affiliates who teach, manage, supervise, advise, or evaluate another employee."

The other key recommendations of the report:

  • Create new training programs for deans, chairs, faculty, staff, and students on the prevention of sexual harassment and how to deal with harassment in any form
  • The use of an app or other digital means for a third party to report sexual
  • Chancellors establish a "base line" experience of of students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty and staff regarding mistreatment or harassment of any kind, whether on the basis of sex or gender, race, national origin/ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, LGBTQ status, and other characteristic.
  • Merit pay should also take into account "documented findings of unprofessional conduct"

The university's Board of Governors needs to approve the policy.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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