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cronxeh May2-05 07:05 PM

Student-Professor Dating
So I thought about this question, as I'm sure it has came to mind to others before (not that I'm in the process of or ever been dating a professor(s) - or thinking of for that matter):

When is it "ok" to date a professor from your school?

What if the professor in question is not your professor (that is, you are not taking his/her classes)? Or suppose the professor is from another department, classes which you would never take?

What if the professor is the lecturer of your class (or has been in the past)?

Is it immoral for a student to date a professor? Is it common?

Post your opinions on this

mattmns May2-05 07:28 PM

I think it is perfectly fine (for all of the questions). And if I become a professor, and any of my female students want to go out on a few dates, feel free to talk to me :tongue2:

I bet MB will have something good to say :smile:

chroot May2-05 07:33 PM

I believe it's generally not a good idea to date anyone with whom there would be a sizeable "power differential." Teacher-student, doctor-patient, and boss-employee relationships all include this dynamic, and it usually kills the relationship in the end. It might be fun for a while, but will almost inevitably end in catastrophic failure (even excepting such disasters as being fired, expelled, or otherwise disciplined). It just isn't a stable environment in which to develop a healthy relationship.

Of course, dating someone else's boss, or someone else's professor defuses the situation somewhat, but if they're at the same company or school, some potential for disaster remains.

For me, it's not so much a "moral" issue; I think people should be free to (try) dating anyone they please. It just happens that such relationships seem to rarely succeed.

- Warren

SpaceTiger May2-05 07:37 PM

I once dated a student for whom I had been a TA. She seemed to get off on the power differential that had existed between us. Was it a bad idea? Yeah, probably. :biggrin:

Grogs May2-05 07:59 PM


Quote by chroot
For me, it's not so much a "moral" issue; I think people should be free to (try) dating anyone they please. It just happens that such relationships seem to rarely succeed.

I definitely don't see it as a moral issue, but rather a professional one. If the relationship goes bad, people suffer, and not just the ones that were in the relationship. When it's 2 peers, like employees in the same office, it can be bad enough. When you throw in a supervisor-supervisee aspect into it, it gets even worse. Now you may be looking at lawsuits and people losing their jobs.

The_Professional May2-05 08:16 PM


Quote by cronxeh
When is it "ok" to date a professor from your school?

If the professor doesn't go to the same university as you. If she's in the same university then she's possibly jeopardizing her career as well.

Moonbear May2-05 08:46 PM

Universities have very specific guidelines on this. If they are YOUR professor, it is not permitted, and would be considered ethical misconduct on the part of the professor. If there is any reasonable expectation they may at sometime BE your professor, such as faculty in the dept in which you are obtaining your major, then it would be unethical as well. Basically, in any case where there is a potential conflict of interest (they are involved in your grading, graduation, research, thesis work, etc.), it is not permitted and considered unethical. If you are a student and meet someone who happens to be employed as a professor elsewhere (this can especially happen with an older student), this would be okay.

The advice I was given when I was a TA was simply that if it's love, it can wait until after the final exam. Afterall, there is the possibility you will meet someone in a teacher-student situation who really is meant to be your life partner, but if that really is the case, you can wait until you are no longer student and teacher/professor before pursuing that relationship.

It's actually the faculty who are at greatest risk in such a relationship. There are students, as we all know, who will try to trade "favors" for grades. If the faculty falls for this, and later they break up or they reject the student, it is very easy for the student to turn the tables and claim sexual misconduct on the part of the faculty member. I even suggest to TAs that they don't meet with students behind closed doors; this prevents claims that any form of misconduct occurred without anyone as a witness.

TheStatutoryApe May2-05 09:28 PM

I think Moonbear pretty well summed it up. I work as security on a college campus and am not allowed to "fraternize" with the students while at work or off the clock. This even includes have a conversation that is anything other than professional in nature. I can't give a student a ride in my vehicle even if I can explain that there was no personal elements involved, say if I were driving to work and see a student walking to the school I can't stop and pick them up.
Not many of my co-workers really follow the rules very closely but since I am the only one of us who is any where near the age range of the students I worry far more about how it will be seen.
So I'm not a professor but maybe that will give you an idea of the rules they have at differant schools.

loseyourname May3-05 01:16 AM

When you're in a position of power, it's always best to videotape your sexual encounters, including the consent and reasons for consenting of your partner(s). Just think what that could have done for Kobe Bryant.

Anyway, I'll go along with the concensus here. If it's your student or can become your student, stay away.

Pengwuino May3-05 01:21 AM

No reason for it to be immoral as long as your not doin the professor for an A :).

Also, many universities have strict policies on this and since it is their univeresity, its their right to dictate whatever rules they wish and if they want to can someone because he dates a student, they will.

cronxeh May3-05 01:32 AM

not quite.

the student pays the tuition, and should have (and most of the time they do through student counsel) the say in the politics of the University.

Now it is understandable why student-professor relationship has its negative aspects, however there is a workaround to this. If the system is set up such way that the Professor's job is simply to teach the student the material, while it is the department's duty to test the student, then the professor is forced to perform a quality job at it, and there is no possibility for any personal favors of any kind - as everyone gets tested and the professor doesnt participate in preparation of the test.

This is done in my school with Math tests

Pengwuino May3-05 01:43 AM

I thought most universities policies are to discourage such activities.... hmm

I doubt the same idea applies to grad students teaching right?

Moonbear May3-05 01:43 AM

Pengwino, we didn't say it's immoral, just unethical. There's a difference there.

The easiest workaround is really to just wait until you are no longer their professor. Such relationships do sometimes happen and there's usually a way to deal with it, and yes, having all assignments graded by someone else is one way of handling it. The greatest risk is usually with TAs and students because they are so much closer in age and might find themselves even in similar hang-outs outside of class.

Pengwuino May3-05 01:45 AM

The original post asked if it was immoral, i was just responding to that aspect.

Moonbear May3-05 01:47 AM

Oh, okay, I thought you were replying to a different post.

cronxeh May3-05 08:08 PM

good job Moonbear, you killed it!!

Pengwuino May3-05 08:19 PM

*electroshocks it back into coherence*

sex sex sex!

Maybe that'll boost it back into the public eye

SOS2008 May3-05 11:13 PM


Quote by Pengwuino
*electroshocks it back into coherence*

sex sex sex!

Maybe that'll boost it back into the public eye

Okay, let's see...Professor SOS will help give all you male students a learnin'. :wink:

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