Can a Student Date a Professor?
Some things in academia never change. This is not just icky—it is highly damaging to the profession. Because not only are these relationships almost always an unacceptable abuse of power, they also affect the dynamics of departments, entire fields, and the very act of grad students dating professors mentorship altogether. So why does it still happen other than the fact that people enjoy having sex?
When a student and faculty member start sleeping together, rarely is it a well-kept secret; often, the student becomes a departmental pariah. Without support from fellow students and, often, dismissed by the other professors in the departmentmany of these once-promising grad students wind up out of the discipline entirely. When a professor dates a graduate student, no matter how it turns out for them, it harms everyone in the department. Indeed, it is the lasting and pervasive damage these relationships do to the act of academic mentorship that makes them so dangerous.
In my discipline, the term for a dissertation adviser is Doktorvater or Doktormutter. Correspondingly, advisees of famous student-seducers—male female, straight or LGBT, platonically relationshipped or otherwise—can easily be tainted for their entire careers. Grad students dating professors the consequences go far beyond the couple. This, in turn, puts an inordinate amount of pressure on those veritable heroes who somehow manage the feat of not sleeping with their students.
So what, if anything, can be done? Institutional policies that forbid such relationships? Many universities have these already, and they rarely seem to matter. Off-site visits, such as the one Carla Fehr engineered? As satisfying as it was to see CU—Boulder duly spanked, that resulted in an infuriating amount of rank-closing and defensiveness. One of my mentors in grad school once stuck a very prominent scholar—who had just left his wife for a year-old graduate student—in a near-unattended 8 a.
Indeed, most of the time, an accomplished senior scholar can get away with almost any poor sexual decision with a student, and still be respected in the field. Colin McGinn himself is giving a keynote at a high-profile philosophy conference in a few weeks. Maybe the conclusion should be that academia is grad students dating professors in a really messed up way if a relationship between two consenting adults can cause so much damage to others.
A true solution would be dating service northwest arkansas shun proven student-schtuppers from the discipline. A professor who sleeps with students should find him- or herself wandering in the handicap dating site wilderness for a good long time. It is also professional abuse. It destroys departments and ruins careers.
Because of this, sex with students should be on par with plagiarism, or fabricating the results of grad students dating professors scientific study. And if it is true love? Grad students dating professors, true love waits … until the student defends her dissertation. Slate is published by The Slate Group, a Graham Holdings Company. Slate Sign In Sign Up. Hands Off Your Grad Students!
Illustration by Alex Eben Meyer. Top Grad students dating professors Maybe the conclusion should be that academia is run in a really messed up way if a relationship between two consenting adults can cause so much damage to others.