Portland State’s consensual sexual relationship policy under review

Portland State’s policy governing consensual sexual relationships is currently under review, and the university is seeking feedback from students and faculty on the proposed revisions until Feb. 17.

The Oregon University System requires all Oregon universities to have a written policy on consensual sexual relationships that may involve a power differential.

The current policy describes these relationships as, “The actual or perceived imbalance of power that exists in a relationship when one of the parties in the relationship is an instructor or a supervisor and the other is a student or supervisee.”

The written policy is required to state the rules of relationship disclosure and steps required to mitigate issues of supervision.

According to Chas Lopez, executive director of the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, “The old and new policies are very similar. The revisions are to provide clarity to the current policy.”

The proposed changes to the new policy include:

1. The addition of “casual, informal, temporary, or episodic” to the description of consensual sexual relationships.

2. Clarifies that both parties should report the relationship immediately, but confirms the individual with greater power maintains primary reporting responsibility.

3. Places the Office of Equity and Compliance in charge of evaluating adherence to the policy, along with specific steps to resolve conflicts, and lists additional resources for individual questions.

The current revisions are still in the draft phase, and the university is looking for feedback and suggested changes to submit to the University Policy Committee.

“We need and welcome feedback from faculty and the student body,” Lopez said.

Both the current and proposed policies and a PowerPoint of specific changes can be viewed at: pdx.edu/ogc/consensual-relationships-policy.