Professor dating a graduate student
The University of Connecticut, by a unanimous vote of the school's board of trustees last week, has decided that from now on sexual interactions between students and professors are prohibited. The UConn students aren’t in session to comment but, given that the prohibition comes after the revelation that a longtime music professor at the university was in the habit of “visiting freshmen dorms [and] providing drugs to students” it’s probably safe to say that no one is sincerely opposed to a policy adjustment—on campus or off.
In many cases, colleges prohibit relationships only in instances where the professor has “direct, supervisory authority” over the student.
during the 2014 Summer Thru Term,” Stevens wrote in an Oct.
15 letter to Suplita.“As a result of these findings,” Stevens continued, “and in review of your previous violation of this section of the NDAH policy, I am recommending your separation from ... I am also directing you to cease and desist all contact with your assigned students, effective immediately.”UGA has denied Suplita basic due process rights, he believes, pointing to concerns raised recently by legal scholars who argue that a new federal emphasis on protecting students from harassment and sexual abuse has led to rules that don’t give students or faculty accused of abuse the opportunity to adequately defend themselves.
Perhaps schools turn a blind eye because law students are adults – in contrast to undergraduate students – and, in theory, they are thus freer to make decisions about whom to date, much like people who date co-workers.
But what about unwanted attention or a perceived inability to say no?
While there’s a troublesome power dynamic at work here—a tenure-track economics professor’s relationship with a freshman in his macroeconomics class, whose grade he determines, is obviously different from any relationship that student might develop with another economics professor; likewise, that freshman would have a different relationship with another freshman—nobody seemed to think this one was such a big deal. If a professor were to approach (or text message) a student today to ask for a date it would strike many as incredibly inappropriate. While it’s true that that UConn prohibition extends to any professors and any students of every gender, the traditional dynamic here is a male professor and a female student.
The teaching assistant sided with Suplita in a letter she wrote to EOO officials.
She is not supervised by Suplita as a student, and another psychology professor, not Suplita, supervised her and other teaching assistants, she said. 15 letter that Suplita “engaged in a prohibited consensual relationship with your graduate teaching assistant,” and announced it publicly on Facebook before the summer term ended.“The University prohibits all faculty and staff, including graduate assistants, from pursuing or engaging in dating or sexual relationships with students whom they currently supervise, teacher, or have authority over.”“I find that based on the preponderance of evidence you did violate the NDAH (Non-Discrimination and Ant-Harassment) Policy by pursuing or engaging in a dating or sexual relationship with your assigned teaching assistant ...
The dean replied, basically, that the Galbraiths had nothing to worry about because they had met and married back when "amour -- instructional and noninstructional -- was in fashion." So the relationships were "always wrong" except, well, in the 1930s, when they apparently weren’t at all wrong.
A 1997 paper by Barry Dank and Joseph Fulda indicates that: Starting in the 1980's, a feminist literature emerged calling for the banning of intimate, organizationally based, asymmetrical relationships and the subsumption of such relationships under the rubric of sexual harassment.