April 5, 2010

"Parents don’t send their kids to Yale to sleep with their professors. Why don’t we say that?"

An actual rule saying faculty can't have sex with students. (Via Instapundit.) Didn't you think that already was the rule?

I remember years ago, here at Wisconsin, they put us faculty through an elaborate training session about how to follow the new rule about faculty-student sexual relations. It was elaborate because it was not simply a rule against it. (Click "read more," below, to see the text of the rule.) It was a reporting requirement. When, exactly, did you need to file a report about the relative location of your genitalia and how?

I remember asking a 2-part question: Doesn't this really function as a rule against student-teacher sexual relations and why don't we just have a straightforward rule against student-teacher sexual relations? I can't remember the answer, other than that it was roundabout and evasive. I had 2 ideas about what the answer really was:

1. Perhaps they thought that there is an important individual freedom — even a constitutional right — to choose your intimate associates. You know: At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.... And maybe that includes defining for yourself what is right and wrong in the complexities of power between 2 (adult) partners.

2.  A good number of current faculty members have marriages that began as student-teacher coupling, and it wouldn't be very nice to impugn these relationships retrospectively. If it's a reporting requirement, we can indulge in the fantasy that these people would have reported if there had been a reporting requirement, so they are just fine, even as any new couples will be either: a. deterred or b. in violation of the rule.

Here's the text of the UW-Madison rule:
II-307 STATEMENT ON CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS

Guidelines

It is in the interest of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to provide clear direction and educational opportunities to the university community about the professional risks associated with consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships between members of the university community where a conflict of interest and/or a power differential between the parties exists. Individuals entering such relationships must recognize that:

Conflicts of Interest may arise when such relationships occur between and among faculty, staff, students and prospective employees. University policies and ethical principles already preclude individuals from evaluating the work or academic performance of others with whom they have intimate familial relationships, or from making hiring, salary or similar financial decisions concerning such persons. The same principles apply to consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships and require, at a minimum, that appropriate arrangements be made for objective decision-making.

Power Differentials between the parties in a consensual romantic and/or sexual relationship may cause serious consequences even when conflicts of interest are resolved. Individuals entering into such relationships must recognize that:

the reasons for entering, maintaining, or terminating such a relationship may be a function of the power differential;

where power differentials exist, even in a seemingly consensual relationship, there are limited after-the-fact defenses against charges of sexual harassment. Furthermore, under certain situations consensual relationships may be outside the scope of employment for university employees and, if so, an individual would not be covered by the state's liability protection in subsequent litigation; and

it is almost always the case that the individual with the power or status advantage in the relationship will bear the burden of accountability.

Reporting Policy

Where a conflict of interest exists, or may exist, in the context of a consensual romantic and/or sexual relationship, the individual with the power or status advantage shall notify his or her immediate supervisor. The supervisor shall have the responsibility for making arrangements to eliminate or mitigate a conflict whose consequences might prove detrimental to the university or to either party in the relationship.

[UW-Madison Faculty Document 940, 6 April 1992]

66 comments:

Joe said...

I believe the rule at my university was, or was transliterated as, "You may not sleep with a person you are teaching-at that moment." S/he turns in the final, AND they aren’t taking you next semester, get their ‘phone and ask them out, was the rule my friends, the graduate students lived by….

Certainly you can’t limit who I find attractive and who I want to date, either as a student OR as an instructor. I think all you can do is limit my ability to influence the grade or outcome of a class by via an intimate relationship. My favourite professors were each married to a former graduate student, that they had met when instructing them. At the 400-700 level courses, you find people who are interested in things you’re interested in, who else would you date? Plus, they are usually in their mid-20’s to early 30’s and at the peak of “the hawtness”…so not only are they intellectually attractive, they are physically attractive too. I’m sure it’s a hard combo to pass up.

Kirby Olson said...

The problem is that it might fit into a harassment issue, as it is now defined by the student, without any objective need to put it into a larger rubric, or for there to be witnesses.

It's something like what happened last week in which subjectivity decided racism was at work, even though there was no evidence.

Colleges have foisted this mentality on students, and now colleges are vulnerable to attack from within this same rubric of subjective viewpoint trumps anything logical or objective, or needing to reveal evidence.

It's frustrating.

If colleges simply outlaw freedom of association between adults, however, they conflict with other legal ideas.

So as usual they throw up a lot of administrative blather and hope for the best (which is that they are not sued).

I don't know how it breaks down, but many schools have rules against profs and their immediate students having sex. Don't some corporations also forbid dating inside their staffs for exactly the same reason?

People do it anyway. I think some probably enjoy the extra risks involved, and the Romeo & Juliette feeling that transpires when the state is against your feelings.

rhhardin said...

They're trying to warn you about women.

damikesc said...

Stephen Lynchs "Mixer at Delta Chi" is not just funny...its prophetic.

traditionalguy said...

This may seriously skew the results from the Rate Your Professor website. Next question: does Cuteness in public at least get a warning? But if the governing folks can now rule on our choices of salt and sugar in our diets, then this makes sense for the pre-adults at Yale. They should also consider a new tradition of dating the foxy lady professor and the aloof male professor on graduation night when a Mardis Gras custom is allowed for two weeks or the professors' death, whichever comes first.

ark said...

I can think of several reasons that an outright ban such as Yale has just issued might not be a good idea. First, note that the age difference between the oldest undergraduates and the youngest faculty members might not be enough to make such relationships implausible in all cases. Then consider the following possible scenarios:

1) An undergraduate and graduate student are already together when the graduate student is hired as a faculty member. (Do teaching assistants count, by the way?)

2) A student is in a relationship with a faculty member elsewhere who moves to Yale.

3) Two people meet off-campus, neither realizing the other's affiliation.

If the ban applies to graduate students as well, then we can add

4) Two graduate students in a relationship; one of them graduates and is hired into the faculty.

David said...

If a business came to court with a policy like this as part of a harassment defense, they would be drawn and quartered by judge, jury, counsel, press and politicians.

Academia really is a sweet life.

David said...

Re the Yale policy:

What's the sanction for violation?

Is there a sanction?

David said...

My comment "policy like this" above refers to the Wisconsin policy.

traditionalguy said...

This may all be a result from a rumor of Tiger Woods applying for a guest lecturer position. He calls his course Introductory Masters Stroke Play Techniques. It is a hands on course and his final exam is definitely graded on the curves.

Calypso Facto said...

If college students aren't mature enough to decide whether or not they want health insurance (and if they do, aren't responsible enough to get on their own policy before age 26) then there's no way they should be trusted to make rational choices about dating their professors!

Rob said...

The comments thus far translate pretty much intact from the way it worked in the Air Force (where I was an office drone, much like I am today). Military-to-military marriages were quite common, and tolerated, as long as officers married officers and enlisted married enlisted. Officer-enlisted marriages were, and are, very strongly discouraged. They did happen, but nearly always resulted in part of the couple separating from the service.

Larry J said...

The students are already being figuratively screwed by the high costs of college and often mediocre coursework thought in the classrooms. They’re graduating with high debt and worthless degrees. That should be enough without literally screwing them, too. In the business world and in the military, this is highly frowned upon to the point of legal action. After all, we're taught that one aspect of sexual harassment is that due to the difference in power between a subordinate and higher ranking person, there is the potential for coercion. There is also the appearance of favoritism that others not involved in the relationship experience. It’s a bad deal all around – apparently unless you’re a Democrat like Bill Clinton.

AllenS said...

Are blowjobs ok? That's not really sex.

The Drill SGT said...

My opinion of Yale faculty went up considerably when I saw this comment from one of them:

It really is kind of simple. Parents don’t send their kids to Yale to sleep with their professors. Why don’t we say that?’”

traditionalguy said...

But these silly rules are only depriving college students of the best sex education available at Princeton. The young folk will now have to resort to the blind leading the blind as nothing but other novices are available to practice with. As Cherie once said, " experience is everything" in the indoor sport of love.

The Drill SGT said...

duh,

I read it first on Instapundit and should have paid more attention to the fact that Ann selected the quote as her header

duh

it's still the punch line from the article

PS: Rob, the AF may be more lax than the Army. The Army also (like Yale) prohibited relations between supervisor and supervisee, regardless if both were officer or enlisted.

that wasn't a rank issue, but a chain of command issue. as a LT, I dated a Captain in the same headquarters, but since she was a Defense lawyer and I was in S-3, we didnt have any any work connection.

David said...

Again:

Sanctions? Penalties? Are there any?

David said...

Or Sandra Day O'Connor was provost at the time and rejected a bright line rule for a "facts and circumstances" test.

Cedarford said...

Rob - "Military-to-military marriages were quite common, and tolerated, as long as officers married officers and enlisted married enlisted. Officer-enlisted marriages were, and are, very strongly discouraged."

Holds true for Line officers - enlisted relationships. Not so much for enlisted and non-line officers. Like nurses, lawyers, researchers & instructors, logistics, and procurement folks hired in as non-line command officers.

Good thing, too. Male officers in my time did try to make a case that certain populations of pussy were all theirs, but there was little real inclination to support this. And we officers also comported with female enlisted. (Went to the same college, same age, graduated the same time, actually dated briefly as college sophomores, meet again in the military and resume....why not??)

A.W. said...

I remember when i was at the law school, we had a big skit show, and one was "what the TA says/what the TA means." (TA means teacher's assistant, get your mind out of the gutter).

At one point the one-L says to the TA, "you're really pretty. would you like to go out sometime."

Then the announcer said: "What the TA says..."

TA: "We cannot sleep with the students..."

Announcer: "What the TA thinks..."

TA: "...until we get tenure."

Heh.

And i remember one law professor, won't name names, watching a female friend of mine in a very pervy way when she happened to come to a class with a lollipop.

But on the other hand, i don't know. If a law professor sleeps with an undergrad pre-med student, how exactly is this a problem or even the school's business? They give the usual crap about power differentials, but it just seems to infantilize the student.

A.W. said...

Allen S

I will point out that Bill Clinton was a Yalie. Just sayin'.

PatHMV said...

Drill Sgt... the problem with the quote, as righteous as it sounds, is that there's LOTS of things that parents do not send their children to Yale for, but which little Sally or little Johnny will choose to do, as legal adults, once they get there. So it matters not why the parents chose to send their kids to Yale. The young adult has the right to make those decisions for himself or herself.

Perhaps we should return to the days of in loco parentis, and treat young adults as children, but that would be a different world from the one in which we currently live. In the current world, college students are adults and have the right to be treated as such. As Prof. Althouse notes, that includes the right to decide with whom to share a bed.

damikesc said...

"Hey baby, what's your minor?
Got your major in my pants"

Geoff Matthews said...

Pat HMV,

Seeing as parents are probably paying the tuition (ie, they are the paying customer), the school needs to care about what they think.

Mom and Dad may tolerate some degree of moral relativism, but when they find out that Susie was screwed by her Psych professor, they may be inclined to stop paying for the experience.

I am of the opinion that faculty should not sleep with students, whether they are in their class or not. Seems like the professional thing to do.

damikesc said...

"I've got your studen body
She wants a better grade
I say if you roll over
I'll throw in financial aid"

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Parents don’t send their kids to Yale to sleep with their professors. Why don’t we say that?"

Because professors would go someplace where it's a little easier to get their hands on all that young stuff.

(We know this doesn't apply to you, Professor)

traditionalguy said...

An across the board prohibition of sex in springtime for 18 to 22 year olds should work out worse than alcohol prohibition did 90 years ago. Commonsense penalties for "passing freshman girls around to more than 5 friends" and for "seducing more than 3 upperclass girls per month" should be enacted. Evolution Theory must be served. How will the fittest genes get passed along if the in bloom young women have restricted access to bees with Phd's ?

PatHMV said...

Geoff... and what if the undergraduate student is a few years older and NOT being bankrolled by mommy and daddy? Or is on scholarship? And what if it's not her psych professor she's choosing to sleep with, it's the Econ professor that she's never had and never going to have (for a class), that she met at a party? The rule laid down by Yale applies equally in all of those situations.

Do you propose a different rule, that takes into consideration the age of the student and who is paying her tuition when determining who she is and is not allowed to sleep with?

Meade said...

My parents wouldn't have sent me to Yale to sleep with my professors.

That's why I would have paid my own way.

And gone to Wisconsin.

AllenS said...

Wait a minute. What if you don't go to Wisconsin? Do you still get to sleep with a Professor from Wisconsin? Sometimes, life just isn't fair. Ya know?

G Joubert said...

A woman in my law school class in the early 80s slept with several professors. Although she was quite attractive, she wasn't a hot young thang. She was in her 30s, and married with 3 kids. She DID NOT sleep her way to the top gradewise, but she did manage to sleep her way from the bottom to the middle. It's a quid pro quo thing.

themightypuck said...

I had an adjunct professor come onto me in college and I have to admit it was hot. There is something very sexy about the podium.

Joseph said...

"Parents don't send their kids to Yale..."

First, most parent don't send their kids to college. Most students send themselves to college. Also, parents also don't send their kids to college to drink too much and have promiscuous sex and do all kinds of inadvisable adult things. But who cares what the parents of adults think?

I think its a good rule that you shouldn't be free to sleep with the people whose work you are supervising and grading, whether in employment or academia. But that's a sufficient rationale. I don't think you need to rely on the overprotective and patronizing sexual morality views of parents.

themightypuck said...

This is a rule created by women to hamstring other women.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Wouldn't it be simpler to have a policy that is:

Have sex with anyone of legal age who also wants to have sex with you. Just don't let it influence grading. Make sure that the gradee understands that there will be a mandatory half-grade markdown just to be sure there's no undue influence."

Lynne said...

While I understand the instinct to let college-age students conduct themselves as adults, I have to say that I think professors should not sleep with their students-- or any students who might be required to take their courses in the future, for that matter.
The one time I saw this happen between a prof and a student, it was a total disaster. It was a high-pressure program and the student wound up developing emotional problems and dropping out as a result. The prof, btw, was female and the student was male.

Michael Hasenstab said...

See, this is the kind of thing that results from a professor boinking a student.

Who'd want to deal with that?

david7134 said...

I was a professor at a medical school for several years. In that time I had a number of young women who seemed to want a relationship. I felt that it was very wrong. I could not have influenced thier grades or recommendations, but I was an authority figure and as such could easily manipulate their minds and will. It takes a real creep to take advantage of this relationship, it takes alot to turn it down.

AllenS said...

David7134--

They could have given you oral sex, and then everything would have been ok.

Cedarford said...

Meade. Excellent points!

jamboree said...

I was under the impression that's why men became professors in the first place.

University towns are gross in that way. You have a bunch of women 35-45 pushing strollers and their husbands are 15-20 years older than that. It's like the cadaver grandparents nursery.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Are the professors hotter at private universities than they are at state universities?

If a student has to pay more to attend a private university, then the benefits should be waaay better.

PatHMV said...

I certainly agree with david1734 that such relationships are fraught with potential for problems. But for every such relationship which ends in psychological complications for one of the participants, how many end successfully in marriage, or at least mutually satisfactory interludes? What must the ratio between those two numbers be, before we decide that we will infringe upon the rights of consenting adults by forbidding them?

Keep in mind that rules of this sort are ultimately imposed for the benefit of the institution, not the individuals. The university wants a rule in part so that if some student is psychologically damaged by such a relationship, the university can defend itself by saying hey, that faculty member was acting outside the scope of his employment. We had a rule against that, and both he (and that student!) violated it, so we're not responsible. Go look for deep pockets elsewhere.

Joe said...

This is an incentive for kids to be really smart and graduate high school early and then zoom through college so that they are grad students at 18 and can sleep with just about whatever professors they want, as long as they aren't taking any of their classes.

It's another step in improving our education system!

jaed said...

I could not have influenced thier grades or recommendations, but I was an authority figure and as such could easily manipulate their minds and will.

Dude. It's just a job. If you are teaching a class they're taking, if you're advising them, or (let's be broad here) if you're even in their department, I can see potential for some intimidation, even unintentional; you might be asked to write a recommendation, or sit on a thesis committee, or (who knows?) happen to be teaching that one class they require for graduation a year or two from now. Messy situations are certainly possible, *if* you and an SO are in the same department.

But "easily manipulate their minds and will"? What do you think you are, Svengali? That's such a bizarre comment that I wonder whether there's a story to go with it, or at least some supporting thoughts.

vw: unsessed. I swear this thing is sentient.

William said...

There are some relationships that just seem wrong. A divorce lawyer who has an affair with a client is more reprehensible than a lawyer who hits on a client during a real estate closing. A pastor or psychologist has a greater need of detachment than a financial adviser. A senior Naval officer should never wake a subordinate by snorkeling in his lap. It completely subverts the distance necessary to maintain good order and discipline in the ranks......I had a friend who taught freshman English. He was at that time in his early twenties and was working to complete his dissertation. The girls in his class thought he was witty and erudite. Prior to that time he had not met a lot of girls who thought of him as witty and erudite. The noise in the bee loud glade was deafening. He asked some of the girls out at the end of the semester. Some said yes and all seemed flattered by the request. The subsequent relationships were not the most damaging in either parties' life. My friend went on to marry a girl he had met in grad school. The way frogs are attracted to other frogs, grad students are attracted to other grad students' croaking pedantries......Women, perhaps even more than men, tend to eroticize the power differential. The guage shouldn't be that differential, but the vulnerability of the person on the low end of the see saw. A pretty girl does not long remain on the low end of the see saw.

traditionalguy said...

IMO the authority angle is overdone here. A few daddy's girls are looking for a new daddy, but other nthan them the sexual power of a single college coed acting out to create some new boundaries is never the victim. The older professor has the ability to say no, but the coed is the first one that suggests yes.

Sakami72 said...

My undergrad English professor was from Nantucket.

Remarkable man.

Ann Althouse said...

I think the main problem is that it's not fair to the other students. All students should have equal access to the teachers. It shouldn't be the case that more attractive students have advantages.

speedwell said...

Oh, boo fricking hoo. In the real world, I don't get to sleep with my hot boss or with the hot intern, or with anyone else I work directly with. We can usually request a transfer to a different department, but naturally hardly anyone considers a relationship with a colleague worth transferring. Of course these things sometimes happen anyway, and the resulting debacles are gossiped about for years. Do I wish it were otherwise? Sure. There happens to be someone who I wish I had met outside the workplace. But I didn't, and I don't want to cause trouble for anyone, and I don't want either of us to lose our jobs, and I don't want either of us to be talked about, because I'm a normal, decent, fair-minded woman who cares about old-fashioned things like reputations and team morale. Academia overthinks this.

Well, all I can say is that if you scholars and gentlemen can think of a way to make such a situation happen so that it is guaranteed to work to the benefit of all involved in the short and the long run, put me first on the list of people interested in a copy of your findings.

Koblog said...

Is this elevated conversation what it means in the 21st Century to go to University?

Is this what a college education is reduced to? Attending an expensive brothel?

Milwaukee said...

As an older graduate student, I have classmates the age of my children. So this TA isn't dating other graduate students or my students. We were all sternly warned that our class lists were not a potential dating pool. And not to date once the semester is over, as that person may take more classes from the department, and cross your path in the future.

How about some self-control, and everybody try a little harder to keep their pants zipped? What ever happened to "not shitting in your nest"? The best way to clean up a mess is not make one in the first place.

Did y'all see that iPad was censoring naughty words, like in Moby Dick, the word sperm was represented with s****. We'll keep it clean.

In Denver, everybody knew that nice children went to Boulder (University of Colorado) to lose their morals. Probably just as effective as Yale, and much cheaper.

Ralph L said...

Author Patricia Cornwell got her last name from her former English professor. Did that power differential turn her into a lesbian?

Lee Reynolds said...

"Parents don’t send their kids to Yale to sleep with their professors. Why don’t we say that?"

Since when did Yale University make a habit of admitting juveniles?

I have no issue with a rule forbidding romantic relationships between students and faculty. Given the power disparity between these two groups such a rule is only common sense. What I do have an issue with is the rationale behind it.

College students are not children.

In my lifetime I have seen the definition of childhood creep ever upwards, and I'm only 37. Back when I was 18 or 19, a person that age was expected to be an adult. Not an adult in the same way that a 40-something with a mortgage and 3 kids is, but an adult nonetheless. Today a person that age is expected to be an infant, and is treated accordingly not only by our culture but by our institutions.

I was out on my own at the age of 20, and that actually made me something of a late bloomer in 1993. Today people well into their twenties, who should be making their way out into the world under their own steam, are instead still living with their parents as if high school never ended.

This new rule at Yale is nothing more than another manifestation of the perpetual adolescence that has been foisted upon the younger adults of this country.

I work at a University where our students aren't simply presumed to be infants, but legally classified as such. Would you believe that by default a 25 year old is classified as a dependant of his or her parents as far as financial aid is concerned?

Roger said...

Ann

I saw a video of you on Instapundit today. You really are attractive as well as smart. You should put a new picture of yourself on this site.

Roger

Eric said...

I think the main problem is that it's not fair to the other students. All students should have equal access to the teachers. It shouldn't be the case that more attractive students have advantages.

Bah. That's the way life works, and if they learn that it will be a lesson worth more than anything taught in the classroom.

M. Simon said...

But on the other hand, i don't know. If a law professor sleeps with an undergrad pre-med student,

And once she has had her meds she is even easier.

Hucbald said...

Well, add this to the long list of reasons I'm not interested in teaching at colleges and universities anymore. Coed nookie would be the only thing that could make such a gig tolerable. Fortunately, music schools and conservatories often have visiting artists in for, ahem, master classes.

Cato Renasci said...

When I was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of California in the early 1970s, that halcyon Post-Pill Pre AIDs era, this was a topic of discussion among the TAs and some of the faculty: was it ethical to sleep with your students?

There were two positions then - 1) I'll take what I can get, by hook or crook; and 2) not while a student is in one's class or likely to be in one's class again.

I knew a fair number of young women who had affairs with faculty members (some of whom were really used - in one case passed around a sociology department from professor to professor - some were fairly ordinary affairs, and some married) and found it made me uncomfortable. Worse was the girl, unhappy with her final performance, who showed up to discuss it wearing nothing but a trench coat and flip flops.

I thought it was always unethical then to date one's students or students whose major was in one's department, and usually unethical to date students at all, although I knew of a few circumstances where young single faculty members met students in pretty much unrelated areas of study through outside interests and activities, where it didn't trouble me.

Kim said...

"Academia overthinks this." -- Speedwell

Speed, that dictum could be applied to just about every single aspect of university life.

submandave said...

The potential of a person in a position of authority abusing this to score some poon is real and exists not just in academia. Look, for example, at someone like Steve Buscemi who is a fabulous actor but, let's be honest, truly butt ugly. I would not be surprised if he ever parlayed his fame and fortune into a hot piece. The real reason, I think, for these sorts of policies and gestures has nothing to do with this actual real possibility, but are rooted in two common contemporary sociological trends.

The first is the extended adolescence of the younger population. The idea is that being an "adult" isn't really being an adult. You can vote at 18, but by trying to insulate the young from responsibility. For example, consider Clinton's push for making college, an environment not particularly known for a butt ton of adult responsibilities, a norm, or the current healthcare bill that allows children up to 25 to remain on their parents' policy. I see this as a mercenary goal, since the greater care and feeding providd by the government to these young adults starts their government dependence early, when their voting paterns are just starting to form.

The second trend is a desire for those who want to exercise authority but avoid responsibility for how they do so. This is the same as the silly "zero tollerence" rules that treat a kid who accidentally leaves his boy scout knife in his backpack the same as the gangster who hides a gat under his shirt. The authorities don't have to take ownership of their resulting actions, since with "zero tollerence" their hands are tied. Academia is doing the same here. Everyone knows there is a world of difference between a young prof and an older undergrad meeting in a bar, hitting it off and getting busy and an old lech who plays up the wise sage act to blind a star-struck frosh (anyone else thinking of Donald Sutherland here?), but with a flat "no sex" policy, the administration doesn't have to be responsible for ignoring the first and telling the second to straighten up. I guess that's part of the "I'm OK, you're OK" BS.

Der Hahn said...

submandave, I had a similar idea that this policy is at least partially 'zero tolerance' CYA occur to me this morning. The previous Yale policy and the UW 'reporting' policy appear to me to create a presumption that the University Administration must ensure the policy is being followed through regular monitoring (why do young ladies who can do no better than a C average ace certain intro to theater classes???). It is much harder to prove that the University avoided its duty to enforce a 'zero tolerance' policy since the faculty member can be assumed to be concealing violations, making the administration's Captain Renault act (they are shocked, shocked that a male professor might want to nail a nubile freshmen) look more slightly more convincing.

Synova said...

My high school typing teacher married one of his students.

Presumably he didn't ask her out until after she graduated. At least, one can hope.

And really... he was probably all of 4 or 5 years older than her. It's sort of hard to be too scandalized many years later.

In any case...

If being known as a slut is bad in high school, being known to sleep with professors is doubling down on bad in college. The presumption is that its for grades, particularly if anyone gets the idea that more than one professor was involved. The only girl I knew who had that reputation in college was one seriously messed up chick; which brings up another issue.

First... it's unfair to those who don't sleep with the professor.

It's coercive because students have no way to know if refusing will have any negative consequences to their grades.

And it's likely to involve a disproportionate number of students who are already messed up.

But having a rule against having sex with or dating your own students or students in your department would seem sufficient and would more or less conform to similar workplace standards.

It's just not that hard.

William said...

This is an addendum to my earlier post at 6:49pm. My friend became a married English instructor with two children and two jobs and diminishing hopes about finding a tenure track job. The noise in the bee loud glade was considerably diminished, and he wasn't broadcasting many pheromones. The girls no longer stopped after class to ask him important questions about grave matters. He had become part of the establishment, the distant, inaccessible world of grown ups. He was there to teach the rules of grammar, not the poetry of life.... He was in no way a philanderer, but that was the only time in his life he had received that kind of attention and he mourned its passing......All this happened back in the mid-seventies when there was considerably more debauched behavior than coeds flirting with TA's. I suppose such behavior was wrong, but it was wrong in the way that a podiatrist should not date his patient, and not in the way that it's wrong for a psychiatrist to date his patent.

Jim Hu said...

Did y'all see that iPad was censoring naughty words, like in Moby Dick, the word sperm was represented with s****. We'll keep it clean.
I downloaded moby dick into iBooks and it isn't censored.