Professional Conduct and Consensual Relationships
Graduate students should follow the principles of professional conduct when considering the possibility of consensual relationships that may develop among members of the university community. UW System policy defines consensual relationships as “any relationship, either past or present, which is romantic, physically intimate, or sexual in nature, and to which the parties consent or consented. This includes marriage.” In the case of teacher-student interactions, the potential for consensual relationships may be undermined by conflicts of interest and power differentials.
UW System policy states that “consensual relationships that might be appropriate in other circumstances are not appropriate when they occur between . . . an employee of the university and a student over whom the employee has or potentially will have supervisory, advisory, evaluative, or other authority or influence.” UW System policy further states that “it is a violation of this policy for an instructor to commence a consensual relationship with a student currently under their instruction or whom the instructor reasonably believes in the future may be under the instructor’s instruction.”
In the application of this policy, the Department defines instructor as a graduate student working in any instructional capacity with undergraduate students and/or graduate students. Graduate students already in consensual relationships with other members of the university community should take care to avoid entering into instructional arrangements with their consensual relationship partners.
The faculty sexual harassment contact, the Graduate Coordinator, and the Director of Graduate Studies all serve as within-department contacts in regards to this policy. Please contact one of these people if you have questions about a current or potential relationship.
Violation of the Department’s policy on consensual relationships may result in disciplinary action including dismissal from the program.
Academic misconduct is an act in which a student (UWS 14.03(1)):
- seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation;
- uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise;
- forges or falsifies academic documents or records;
- intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others;
- engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student’s academic performance; or
- assists other students in any of these acts.
Examples of academic misconduct include but are not limited to:
- cutting and pasting text from the Web without quotation marks or proper citation;
- paraphrasing from the Web without crediting the source;
- using notes or a programmable calculator in an exam when such use is not allowed;
- using another person’s ideas, words, or research and presenting it as one’s own by not properly crediting the originator;
- stealing examinations or course materials;
- changing or creating data in a lab experiment;
- altering a transcript;
- signing another person’s name to an attendance sheet;
- hiding a book knowing that another student needs it to prepare for an assignment;
- collaboration that is contrary to the stated rules of the course;
- tampering with a lab experiment or computer program of another student; or
- submitting work in a course that had been completed for a prior course
Academic misconduct is a serious violation of professional standards and ethics and may result in dismissal from the graduate program:
For additional information on Graduate School and University policies and procedures on academic misconduct, see:
Graduate School Policy & Procedure: Misconduct, Academic:
University of Wisconsin System: Chapter UWS 14: Student Academic Disciplinary Procedures:
Non-academic misconduct refers to violations of university rules and procedures. The University may discipline a student for engaging in conduct that constitutes a serious danger to the personal safety of a member of the university community or guest; for stalking or harassment; for conduct that seriously damages or destroys university property or attempts to damage or destroy university property, or the property of a member of the university community or guest; for conduct that obstructs or seriously impairs university-run or university-authorized activities, or that interferes with or impedes the ability of a member of the university community, or guest, to participate in university-run or university-authorized activities; for unauthorized possession of university property or property of another member of the university community or guest; for acts which violate the provisions of UWS 18, Conduct on University Lands; for knowingly making a false statement to any university employee or agent on a university-related matter, or for refusing to identify oneself to such employee or agent; or violating a standard of conduct, or other requirement or restriction imposed in connection with disciplinary action.
For additional information on Graduate School and University policies and procedures on non-academic misconduct, see:
Graduate School Academic Policies & Procedures: Misconduct, Non-Academic:
University of Wisconsin System: Chapter UWS 17: Student Non-Academic Disciplinary Procedures:
Failure to meet academic or conduct expectations can result in disciplinary action including immediate dismissal from the program. If a student is not meeting academic or conduct expectations, the advisor may consult with area faculty, the student’s exam and/or dissertation committee, and/or the Graduate Committee to determine if disciplinary action or dismissal is recommended.