The university also has new guidelines for resolving sexual harassment complaints.
Staff at Haskell Indian Nations University no longer can have romantic relationships with students there -- unless the couple are married.
The near-total ban on amorous relationships between students and staff at the government-funded college for American Indians was approved Tuesday by the university's National Board of Regents during the first of three days of meetings in Lawrence.
Haskell regents also approved new guidelines for resolving complaints of sexual harassment.
The new ban on student-faculty relationships at Haskell is more restrictive than a policy enacted last year at Kansas University, which prohibits faculty from having relationships with students over whom they have direct power. That policy remains controversial at KU, where the University Council will consider modifications to the policy on Thursday.
But at Haskell, a policy similar to that at KU was proposed last fall and deemed too vague by students and staff, said Hannes Combest, an assistant to Haskell President Bob Martin and a member of the panel that wrote the new dating policy. She told the regents Tuesday that students argued for a stricter policy because they felt that all faculty and staff at Haskell had some degree of power over most of the school's 890 students at some point while the students attended Haskell.
Combest said only one anonymous letter writer voiced opposition to the total ban after it was proposed.
"It's a good, clear policy," said Dan Wildcat, chairman of the university's department of natural and social sciences.
Sleepy Eye LaFromboise, president of the Haskell Student Senate and a member of the board of regents, said there was some concern on campus about how the new policy would affect pre-existing relationships. He said he knew of at least one faculty member whose girlfriend intended to enroll at Haskell. Under the policy approved Tuesday, that relationship would be prohibited unless the couple were married.
The regents, however, offered a broad interpretation of "marriage" that includes both common-law marriages and marriages according to Indian traditions, as well as licensed marriages.
Under the new sexual harassment policy approved Tuesday, students who believe they are victims of sexual harassment have 120 days from the incident to file a complaint, and complaints must be resolved within 45 days of filing.