Graduate assistanceship and dating and ethics

Dating a student is a professional breach of trust, and one that adversely effects the integrity of the entire educational institution. As Professor X notes, a professor has a potential teacher-student relationship with students at a university, not just those in his or her classes.Dating a student who happens not to be in one of those classes is what lawyers call “a distinction without a difference.” Many students and professors will reasonably assume that the pairing arose out of the student-teacher relationship, and in some ways it almost certainly did.Mismatched power and authority can be a recipe for disaster with sexual relations.Granted, professors wield power that is somewhat related to age.This is not just icky—it is highly damaging to the profession.For despite the handful of happy families that result from professor/grad student couplings, the practice has an overwhelmingly deleterious effect on the academic community.“I understand that it’s not a good idea to form relationships with professors while still in the class (favoritism, etc.).

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well, I wouldn’t say “well.” With two such relationships making recent news in the discipline of philosophy alone, for some of the older generation of professors (again, mostly male), the grad students are still a dating pool—and vice versa.

Especially if they are both single and in and around the same age? I like my professor (used to be professor ) a lot, and I get the feeling he likes me.

He spends a lot of time talking with me in his office and he often looks at me in ways that makes me think he does like me.

So why does it still happen (other than the fact that people enjoy having sex)?

It happens because in many academic disciplines—such as, of course, philosophy, which already enjoys a reputation for misconduct—there is a tendency for beginning scholars to have “philosophical idols,” as explained to me by Meena Krishnamurthy, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba.

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