Scholarship News

Naughty Professor: Love or Lechery in the Classroom?


July 21, 2015
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Social networking is strongly encouraged these days in the academic and professional realm. But what happens when a professor and student delve into a much deeper, complicated relationship? Northwestern academic Laura Kipnis exercised her academic voice to support professor-student relationships as learning experiences  which received strong backlash, including a student protest and a filed Title IX complaint. Kipnis opposes college conduct rules that ban professors from dating students. Quite obviously, there are many issues regarding conflict of interest, favoritism and the like. We can never be too certain of people’s incentives in such relationships - is it true love, a gateway for strong recommendation letters, or for promising job opportunities post-graduation? Admitting to having one herself, the relationship between a higher-power professor and student now necessitates protection, whereas it did not in the past. Current sexual-harassment guidelines and laws prohibit relations that could further “skyrocket” student’s vulnerability. But you may ask, who is really vulnerable: the teacher on the brink of being fired for an originally-consented relationship or the student suffering emotional injury?

Social networking is strongly encouraged these days in the academic and professional realm. But what happens when a professor and student delve into a much deeper, complicated relationship? Northwestern academic Laura Kipnis exercised her academic voice to support professor-student relationships as "learning experiences" which received strong backlash, including a student protest and a filed Title IX complaint. Kipnis opposes college conduct rules that ban professors from dating students. Quite obviously, there are many issues regarding conflict of interest, favoritism and the like. We can never be too certain of people’s incentives in such relationships - is it true love, a gateway for strong recommendation letters, or for promising job opportunities post-graduation? Admitting to having one herself, the relationship between a higher-power professor and student now necessitates protection, whereas it did not in the past. Current sexual-harassment guidelines and laws prohibit relations that could further “skyrocket” student’s vulnerability. But you may ask, who is really vulnerable: the teacher on the brink of being fired for an originally-consented relationship or the student suffering emotional injury?

In the exact environment where there is high student accountability, "sexual panic rules." There is a large difference between consensual and nonconsensual romantic relations, as Kipnis points out- the latter requiring true concern. What is at stake here, in lieu of the consensual professor student relationship, is the degree to which new sexual harassment policies and the like come to "expand the power of the institutions themselves." When students accuse professors of emotional abuse, say in the case of a breakup, they are taught to tattle and are spoon fed reassurance. The student crying woe is me, for their own choices, does not decrease professor vulnerability but quite the contrary. All of a sudden, the honeymoon phase is over and professors face job termination due to their students' emotional injury.

In higher education, where students are at the age to consent and make their own choices, consistently pleading for more independence, would it make sense to impose laws that treat them as children? Should students be equally responsible for their romantic involvement without using laws as a crutch when things go awry?

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Discuss

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Hannah S  on  8/6/2015 6:17:20 PM commented:

Students are at school to learn, not to create an inappropriate, intimate relationship with a teacher.

Geovanny M.  on  7/29/2015 10:23:34 PM commented:

There should be a line that the student- teacher relationship should not be crossing. There should always be a certain level of comfort and trust demonstrated and provided by both parties in order to be able to get the most of the classes taken. Whether it's as simple as commicating with a proffesor over past and future assignments, or meeting outside of class for additional tutoring or for office hours, the relationship should be professional. Relationships with these two parties seem fine until they aren't, and when that happens, there is going to be someone that ends up hurt, and that pain will affect school and/or work as well.

Bill Taylor  on  7/28/2015 7:08:16 PM commented:

At a higher education level typically all are adults and capable of legally consenting. However manipulation, alcohol, and simply taking advantage of naive and young students is not a stretch of the imagination. Bottom line you're there to learn so stick with the subject in the text book. Whenthey are no longer a teacher but there is still a mutual interest then go for it.

James c  on  7/28/2015 2:25:50 PM commented:

I wouldn't care if a professor and a student were involved as long as the relationship didn't interfere with the education in any way. Since we can't prove that then I'd say you shouldn't allow it at all.

Quishawna J.  on  7/27/2015 7:14:06 PM commented:

I believe students are cognizant of their own situations and should be mature enough to handle themselves emotionally. I don't think that students should have protective laws that put the professors in jeopardy of loosing their job. Students take on the responsibility of undergoing the changes of moving into adulthood. Therefore they should be held accountable of their own romantic decisions. The relationship should not involve the law unless it is illegal. If the relationship does not fall into unlawful circumstances, students should not have prerogative rights.

Aspen G  on  7/27/2015 2:37:51 PM commented:

In my opinion If the professor and student are of consenting age their shouldn't be a point to imposing a law of which they are not allowed to have an emotional or physical relationship. They are both adults who can can make their own choices and as long as their both able to keep their personal relationship separate from their academic relationship then there shouldn't be a problem. I'm not saying it's right but I'm also not saying it's wrong, their both adults and they can freely do what they want. As long as they understand what their getting themselves into and the consequences that may come after. We don't have the right to tell them that they can't be together. If they love each other then we should mind are own business and let them do as they wish. Love is love, and who we fall in love with shouldn't bother anyone elsee

Jessica R.  on  7/26/2015 9:00:00 AM commented:

Even if the professor and student are of consenting age, and possibly even around the same age, there will always be a power differential. The professor will always have a "one up" on the student, even if the professor has no direct impact on the student's grades, letters of recommendations, etc. However, at the same time, many people can't help who they develop feelings for, and it is likely that professor/student relationships will occur. Therefore, I do think rules should be put in place for both the professors and students that clearly lay out what is acceptable and not acceptable for professor-student relationships. For example, no relationships between a professor of a certain discipline and a student in that major, not allowing letters of recommendation, grading, etc. done by the professor. As well as rules for students so that they can't "cry woe" after a breakup, claim sexual harassment when it was consensual, etc.

Jodi Dawkins  on  7/25/2015 10:51:35 AM commented:

since the student is at the age of consent then there isn't really any harm besides the reputation of the school because and unprofessional teacher involved with a student.

victoria e  on  7/24/2015 4:25:58 PM commented:

I kind of have mixed feelings and emotion on this topic. Some girls are into the older guys but some think that is just disgusting. See me, I'm into guys that are 5 years(max) older than me, not like 20 30 years apart. I think that if a girl and a professor is in love with each other that nobody should have a problem with it. Its the age differnce that matters to me but if that doesn't matter between the two of them then everyone shoule leave them alone.

Stephanie B.  on  7/24/2015 2:25:04 PM commented:

The professor will always be higher up on the social and professional hierarchy as long as the student remains a student. They are not on equal playing fields. It is part of the job as a professor to not allow the student's romantic feelings towards the professor and the professor's reciprocal feelings to interfere with the student's academic and future career. They should wait until the student graduates to pursue a romantic relationship. In the end, it is all for the student even if the student presently does not view it this way. The professor must understand and facilitate the transitioning of the student into mature adulthood--not just "new adulthood". The average college student ages 18-23 are the transitioning ages into adulthood--hence the "new adulthood". Even though legally college students are "adults," most are not emotionally and mentally "adults". Therefore, imposing laws that treat them as children is nothing new such as increasing legal drinking/smoking age, etc.

Alexis E  on  7/24/2015 2:16:36 PM commented:

Honestly, laws shouldn't have to take place in order to prevent a student and teacher from having a relationship. They are both adults and at the end of the day, if it doesn't work out then that's just an issue that they need to deal with on their own. Everyone deals with breakups at some point in their life so why is dating a professor such a special case to add punishment for that relationship occurring. No matter how many laws they try to make the teacher and student will still find a way to date. However, it is important to separate school from personal life because it would be wrong to play favoritism.

E. A.  on  7/24/2015 6:05:49 AM commented:

I think we all also have to remember us that there can be quite an imbalance of power in this situation. Rarely is a college professor close in age to the usually 18-23 year Olds that they teach and they generally have the advantage of life experience as well as power. Yes an 18 year old can certainly consent to a physical or romantic relationship with their teacher, but rarely are they equipped to deal with how the relationship or a break up (with a person in a position of power over them no less!) Will make them feel in a mature and healthy way. It would be especially worrying in a situation where the student has to be graded or advised by the professor as either unprofessional favoritism or awkward discomfort could occur. However, if the student doesn't also have a professional and academic relationship with the teacher and/or is no longer in the school (graduated or whatever) then there really shouldn't be an issue.

Shannon D  on  7/24/2015 3:17:46 AM commented:

My opinion on this article is, when you turn 18 your legal and if u want to date a professor for the right reasons, I agree! But if u chose to go after a professor to use him/her for your own personal college benefits, it's wrong! It's not right to use people but if you want to fall in love and have a future with this professor, I'm all for it! To each his own??

cb  on  7/24/2015 12:00:13 AM commented:

What the problem? They are both grow right?

Teresa N  on  7/23/2015 7:10:32 PM commented:

To fully engage into a deep conversation can be a little bit of everything. It brings in a passion for the topic that can either be discussed in a positive or negative way; we bring out our idea and personal fact of the topic and dwell into it to make it significant to others. The problem is when it really does become in a way where it is harsh and the topic has gone a wrong turn then it can be harassment and offend others. We can converse with our professors and get a learning experience each time a new idea and comment is suggested but to when it is the point that it has gone in a path that is too strong, it is a problem.

Jessica G.  on  7/23/2015 12:37:53 PM commented:

Having a sexual relationship with a student who is NOT enrolled in your classes is probably okay, and I don't think colleges should ban such consensual relationships between two adults. However, one should never have an affair with a current student, or with a student one is advising. Doing so blurs the lines between the student/teacher relationship in an unacceptable way. I'm not really supportive of teachers dating former students, either, but I'm also friends with a couple who met when she took an accounting class from him. They've been married for 12 years, but they didn't date until long after she had ceased being his student, which mitigates their situation quite a lot.

Alexandria L.  on  7/23/2015 8:33:20 AM commented:

My opinion on this article is neither black nor white. It is in the grey, which unfortunately is difficult to explain. The questions are: Is it morally right? In what context is the love being shown? Is it pure love, or an ulterior motive? Is it within the law, or is it a 'forbidden love'? These are the questions that need answers, yet change with every situation. If it is legal, pure love with no ulterior motive, and the professor/ student keep their personal life separate from professional education, I believe that relationship is fine. However, if the relationship contains any/all of the opposite question choices above, I do not think it is a healthy, safe relationship. I'm sorry but I believe Ursula S. comment is offensive and utterly incorrect. Unfortunately, what she bases her argument on is upon religion and morals. One's morals are not the same as anothers. You cannot cast your belief of same- sex or opposite sex relationships upon others.

Maria S  on  7/23/2015 8:27:00 AM commented:

If two consenting and mature adults decide to begin a relationship, they should be allowed to do so. We dont't give "students" (18 or older) enough credit. They are treated like children by administrations and told that they aren't mature for a serious relationship. If a student and professor does decide to delve into a romantic relationship then it is their business, as long as all activities are consensual and there was no sexual harassment. Furthermore a student should know what he or she is getting into before said relationship. If the relationship ends, then neither parties should take blame or be punished. Other couples fight and break up on a regular basis, but they are not treated with the same amount of scrutiny as the couples in a professor/student relationship. Lastly, it is not our business to judge the relationships of others, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but calling someone a "whore" or "whoremonger" without knowing or understanding the situation is wrong.

Kimberly L.  on  7/23/2015 6:00:23 AM commented:

I think that a professor dating a student shouldn't happen. However, if the student is over 18 and of legal consenting age, then they too are just as responsible for the relationship as the professor. Although it isn't appropriate, I think the student should not be in the professor's class. That just opens up a whole new can of worms. Honestly, if they don't advertise it on social media, the student isn't in the professor's class, and the student is of legal age, then even though it's wrong, it isn't anyones business. It is just any other kind of relationship. Just don't advertise it. I mean really you are getting yourself into trouble by putting it on Facebook.

Hayleigh m.  on  7/23/2015 1:57:49 AM commented:

I think that it is perfectly okay if two adults have an ongoing relationship. However, if it is directly stated in the professor's contract that he or she should refrain from personal relations with students, it is in their best interest to follow the rules. The student should also give the relationship thought before allowing it to happen. What would this do to him or her if it got out to the public? There is nothing inappropriate about two people having a romantic relationship as long as they are both of age. I especially don't see a problem with it if it is fine with the university and the professor is not currently teaching the student in his or her class. There are pros and cons for both sides. The morals involved are also something to look at. Long story short, if it is something you would be embarrassed to tell people , don't do it.

E Allen  on  7/23/2015 12:29:21 AM commented:

There is the law against it for one but for another 90% of the student-teacher relations are forced or are because the kids are desperate to pass. They are very rarely "true love" and when they are, they can wait until the student graduates before they date. that gives them a chance for friendship and bonds to grow stronger and that way they don't jeopardize each others futures. If they really love each other then they can wait. Be smart about it. Honestly the laws are good where they are and are meant to protect students AND teachers. Leave them be and go with how it is so overall people are a little safer.

Courtney D.  on  7/22/2015 11:58:52 PM commented:

I believe if it is a high school student then it is highly unprofessional and inappropriate. College students on the other hand should just wait until they are out of that professors class. Favoritism would be shown in the classroom which makes it unfair for the other students. There should not be a law made to treat them like children but I definitely believe students need to take responsibility for their actions and focus on school before relationships.

Angel H.  on  7/22/2015 11:21:23 PM commented:

Ursula S., I totally agree

Hanna B  on  7/22/2015 10:43:48 PM commented:

I truthfully believe it depends on the people in the situation. College students and professors might be mature enough to leave school business out of the relationship . Others would rather use the relationship as an advantage in their academics . As long as a couple can keep work and play seperate , it shouldn't be so frowned upon by society .

Hanna B  on  7/22/2015 10:43:03 PM commented:

I truthfully believe it depends on the people in the situation. College students and professors might be mature enough to leave school business out of the relationship . Others would rather use the relationship as an advantage in their academics . As long as a couple can keep work and play seperate , it shouldn't be so frowned upon by society .

Cortavious C  on  7/22/2015 9:27:43 PM commented:

I feel that if a student thinks he or she could handle the pressure of dating or having relations with a teacher then go for it. You're considered an adult and it's totally up to you whether you decide to have relations with your teacher.

Melissa H.  on  7/22/2015 6:44:26 PM commented:

In my opinion, a professor being romantically involved with a student is no ones business. This includes before, during and after the relationship. Therefore the student should handle the breakup just as they would if the ex wasn't their professed. Once you reach the age of consent, there shouldn't be laws that prohibits adults from doing what they please. However, I do feel as though it is up to the couple to determine if the other person (and even themselves) is mature and professional enough to handle the two separate relationships rather than mesh them into one which leads to favoritism and much more.

Ra'Mico J  on  7/22/2015 6:14:28 PM commented:

Teacher/Student relationships generally open a window for other students to feel as if their classroom environment or grades will be compromised due to the professors lack of focus or ability to grade fairly. Personally what you do outside of the classroom is none of my business. As long as it is done outside of the classroom. This becomes a problem when your ability to grade fairly and your attentiveness in class begins to fall short.

Ra'Mico J  on  7/22/2015 6:09:32 PM commented:

Professor/student relationships leave an open door for people to feel as if their education is being compromised due to favoritism or the professor may have a lack of concentration. Personally I feel as if what you don outside of the classroom is not my business nor concern as long as it does not affect you ability to fairly asses assignments as well as teach.

Douglas K.  on  7/22/2015 4:57:24 PM commented:

The point here is has nothing to do with legality over the age of consent, but instead of how immature most collage students are and how easy it is to manipulate people, now as for rules over student teacher relationships, I believe that it should be on the basis of the university to decide upon the policy for itself.

ursula. s  on  7/22/2015 1:10:31 PM commented:

Any man or woman having sexual relations, and is not married. They are wrong and vice versa. She is a whore and he is a whoremonger. And if they are male on male and female on female. All are wrong and sexually immoral. Nothing good will come of a sexual relations at all nothing. And that is whats wrong with these people today, its all in a sense of perversion and ungodly ways. This is not right. I wish people stop trying to right the wrongs

Victoria D  on  7/22/2015 12:52:31 PM commented:

I think that teachers who date their classmates are just searching for trouble. It is just unacceptable. The only option is to wait. Wait until the class is over or when school is done.

Diamond D.  on  7/22/2015 12:45:25 PM commented:

I think it's ok for a student & teacher to have a relationship only if they're both adults. The relationship should be on a professional level and the whole school shouldn't know their business. When in the classroom the teacher shouldn't show favoritism and should treat the student the same as any other student.

Rachel S  on  7/22/2015 12:09:33 PM commented:

When a professor decides to date a student they are putting their own job at risk. People have the ability to make their own choices and when you make that kind of choice you sacrifice everything you have put toward your career. Dating in a place of work can go downhill very fast and make things awkward for both who were in that relationship. We all have opinions about this situation but in the end it's about the choice that the student and professor make.

Desirae N.  on  7/22/2015 11:11:12 AM commented:

I've always thought that just a professor to student relationship is great in order to promote trust and keep students engaged, however recently I do see how the favoritism comes largely into play. I've had my fair share of being the teachers pet and being in that situation, you have security from the teacher where if you mess up slightly, it won't punish you as much as someone who is not close to the teacher. Then with all the student teacher love relationships, it makes you wonder what your teacher's intent is, making the student uncomfortable. A teacher should treat all students fairly and not spur any relationships that show too much favoritism or there will be negative effects on those who do not get as much attention.

Jordy B  on  7/22/2015 8:22:29 AM commented:

This is obnoxious. If you are intelligent enough to handle college you should have enough common sense to know what you are getting into. If you really feel like it's true love with your professor, a semester is only 12 weeks or so. Just wait. Dating coworkers, classmates, etc. can end up as a really awkward situation that I don't recommend. Both parties are at fault but students can't go crying victim when they should know better.

Bonnie C  on  7/22/2015 8:08:45 AM commented:

I think any professor who dates a student is not using any common sense at all. I believe that it is similar to an employer / employee relationship . Professors have influence around campus that may go beyond the major of the student. Undergraduate studies are supposed to take 4 years. If there is "something" there, both parties should wait until the student graduates. Then the student is no longer an "employee" in the same company where the teacher is a "supervisor". If teachers and students dating becomes "legal", schools should make their own policy against it. No employee of the school should date a student, not someone in security, food prep, etc. Wait until they graduate! In a high school situation, many students turn 18 before they graduate. Although 18 is the age of consent, would any of you agree that it is ok for a teacher to date an 18 year old high school student?

Damita H  on  7/22/2015 6:39:52 AM commented:

Teacher/student relationships, in my opinion, isn't always a bad thing. As long as the student (or teacher) is consenting and of legal age. It's two adults! Now, if one is using the other as "sexual bait" because of the "power" he/she has over the other, then it is entirely wrong.

DM  on  7/22/2015 4:43:32 AM commented:

I think it should stay the same because the professor could just be messing with any of the students and feelings would get involved and you'll have drop outs for not going to that one class. However I believe that the professor should be able to choos who he would like to have a relationship with unless you want a professor to quit because he can't have a remain with a student or even the student dripping out to be with the professor.

Edgar G  on  7/22/2015 3:41:53 AM commented:

I believe that the relationship should be allowed but only with some rules. 1:the student cannot be in any classes of the professor he/she is in a relationship with 2: the professor cannot interfere with the student's academic life in any way. 3: the people in the relationship must report their relationship to the school for there own protection, in the event that the relationship ends on bad terms . The third one could be optional

Troi B  on  7/22/2015 3:37:44 AM commented:

"Large differences between consensual and non-consensual romantic relations." However during this day and age consent has a gray area when it comes to colleges. This article talks about sexual harassment and laws, how these limit the student's ability to be treated as an adult. However this issue affects students between the ages of 18-22, are "underdeveloped" and need to be protected. At the same time they need to make mistakes or as Laura refered to it as a "learning experience." Ultimately. I agree with Emily because no one but the people in the relationship can control what happens in the relationship. As far as creating laws, I don't think those are necessary because people will use them as a crutch. Also those laws could be used as a weapon and force either the student or the professor's hand in a "relationship." So who are we really trying to protect with these laws? Which brings me back to consent, I think the bigger issue on college campuses is consent.

Max F. on 7/22/14 4:08AM  on  7/22/2015 3:16:11 AM commented:

I believe that as adults we should be able to make our own choices, when it comes to relationships; who you are with and who you choose not to be with. One thing we have to be cautious of is that certain public figures like teachers, receive ridicule for things an "average" adult wouldn't. The teacher and students should draw certain boundaries, for example: maybe the student can change professors, or there is the option of keeping the relationship non public until after the semester is over. The thing is, when you are in love you should be willing to sacrifice for your significant other in order to assure that the relationship is kept; without this the relationship will always end the same....In pain, public shame, and loss of employment!

Tyler L  on  7/22/2015 2:53:54 AM commented:

It's tough to say what's ethical or "right". Relationships in any circumstance can be due to questionable intentions. Then we have to ask whether or not they will affect the highly valued ideals of "objectivity" and "fairness". Unfortunately, relationships already indicate that things are not "fair" nor "equal". You value someone more and ergo will treat them so. If a professor or educator is capable of separating business from pleasure, then I see no valid reason they cannot, and I stress, mutually in engage in relations with a student. In the collegiate setting one might state all is fair since everyone is more or less "a consenting adult". Honestly, it's pretty much the same free for all rules that apply to a professional setting. Do or don't is your call.

Mellie  on  7/22/2015 12:02:44 AM commented:

This subject is a huge grey area for me with multiple lines that should and should not be crossed. If the student is in high school, it is most likely that they are underage and even if they weren't the ones to pursue the relationship, the professor would then be stuck with pedophilic accusations and/or charges whether it is a wholesome relationship or not. But if the student is in college, it is then a matter of two consenting adults which should result in no problem if they're sensible enough that keep their personal and professional lives separate. Personally, all the problems that they are posing really depends on how mature the student is, if they are consenting to this relationship, they officially have (at least) half the responsibility to act appropriately. I'm normally one to be very pro-mental/emotional health, but if you're allowing it to disrupt a professional relationship with someone and/or professional career, you're obviously not handling their emotions properly.

Liam Y  on  7/21/2015 10:57:32 PM commented:

If both adults are consenting and the relationship develops before or after the participation of a class, I don't see a problem between teacher student relationships. A relationship developing during an a class becomes tricky for both parties for reasons stated in the article; student may be trying to gain the favor of the professor or the professor can lose his or her job. If the relationship existed before the class began, then it is up to a professors professionalism to make sure he/she treats students equally, There is nothing wrong with a relationship developing after the class has ended as neither party can gain any unfair benefits from being romantically involved. As for letters of recommendation, no one should really trust those to begin with regardless of the situation.

Daysi Arbaiza  on  7/21/2015 10:29:56 PM commented:

Multitasking. Better said then done. True,but not impossible .A student as well as a professor work consistent to be at the place they are now . What got them there? Dedication. If they decided to throw in a couple love notes in there brain along the whole work environment they are already use to them they can manage it. Love distractions in a professional mind is bitter with a mix of simple and sweet . Almost direct . Now compared to a unprofessional mind, of course love will distract not only the professor and student involved . Who does that effect? Both student and professor. Point being "love wins". There are plenty of people out there desperate for love. One law or two isn't going to break a love bound . We have learned that now especially since gay rights have been granted . The best thing to do is encourage professionalism not demand it.

Kristina K  on  7/21/2015 10:19:24 PM commented:

I believe that both parties should be treated as an adult who makes their own choices and must face the consequences when or if they come up. But only if they are of legal age to be in a relationship like this, if not that could lead to other legal issues. This student could have a relationship with the teacher if not enrolled in his/her class due to bias and possible inflation in their grades.

Ederly J.  on  7/21/2015 10:18:31 PM commented:

Everyone is saying they should and shouldn't. Yeah those are opinions but if thats what they chose to do why must we judge or question. If thats what the real heart and mind desire then let them be happy. Live lesson, don't prejudice those that won't do it to you, appreciate what you have and from which you can learn from. Life is all about making mistakes and making life changing choices. Let your heart guide you.

Bryana W  on  7/21/2015 9:55:00 PM commented:

When putting yourself in a professional setting you should act in a professional manner, on with the saying "don't mix business with pleasure." However if a professor and a student was to have a relationship they should keep it to themselves and act as such student and professor no special treatment. If suspected of special treatment said student assignment shall be graded by another professor. If their relationship is frue they will accept why they should keep it professional during school time, if they are of age of course.

Adedayo A.  on  7/21/2015 9:34:22 PM commented:

Students should be equally responsible because using the law as a getaway gives too much leverage to the students. In higher education the laws should treat them like adults because once they get into the adult life it will be hard adjusting since they've been treated like children all their lives. If a professor and student were to have a relationship then the professor should not be allowed to teach the student because this will most likely give the student an unfair advantage that other students in the class won't have.

Alison A  on  7/21/2015 9:30:26 PM commented:

Bullshit. A professor should not be having such an intimate relationship with someone he/she is teaching. There are way too many ways that could easily go wrong. That being said, if someone who happens to be a professor has a consensual relationship with someone who happens to be a student in a different class, and both parties are of age, well then they're both of age. The professor is not an authority figure over you if you're not taking his/her class. If the professor happens to start to have a relationship with a student that appears to be going in that direction, there does need to be a way to transition that student into another class or something. Not make it a big deal, just rearrange the schedule or whatever. And if the student or professor want that student in that class, well, then, sorry, you can't have a romantic relationship at the same time. You have to pick one or the other. And it really honestly is that simple.

Jake L  on  7/21/2015 9:27:55 PM commented:

Yes. Can we please move past these "blasphemies" and religious laws already. It's time to move on. Consenting: Man and man. Woman and woman. Man and Woman. High school student of age and teacher, Let's "be adults" as a nation and transcend this ridiculous depravity.

FL  on  7/21/2015 9:22:00 PM commented:

I feel like it's just not worth it. It spells trouble for both parties, In the case of the relationship becoming public. The student may have confrontations with fellow students. There's going to be the side looks and the whispers that may cause the student to feel uncomfortable (depending on the person). As for the professor, he/she may not get the same respect from the students as he/she use to. Let's not even take that to legal matters.

Caroline C  on  7/21/2015 9:21:54 PM commented:

In high school, there was this great teacher that everyone liked. He was smart and charming and recently divorced with a kid. There were rumors that he and a senior from the year before had dated and I was one of the few people who knew it was true. Halfway through my senior year, I grew close to this teacher. We became really good friends and from there it developed in to a very illegal relationship. We never moved on from talking about how much we wanted to be together but it was enough to show me just how wrong it was. Once we ended things, I realized just how much of my senior year was tainted by my relationship with him. Professors and students are both of legal age but I think that having rules about them dating is a very good idea. From one girl who was way too young for her teacher, if there were stricter rules about student/teacher relationships maybe I wouldn't have such bad memories of my high school career. There should be rules in place to protect both parties.

Kpopdiva  on  7/21/2015 8:46:25 PM commented:

There is a korean TV show that shows exactly just this topic. Must check it out: Angry Mom. Can be easily watched and found in Viki.com or Dramafever.com.

Nina R.  on  7/21/2015 8:15:31 PM commented:

I honestly agree with Kipnis. As a college student, as well as an adult I feel that it should not be anyone else's right to tell me or anyone else that I can or cannot be in a consenting relationship no matter the position. I also feel that Kipnis is correct where it is pointed out that college students do tend to tattle when a relationship doesn't turn out in their favor. In the reverse sense, teachers that do decide to take part in this sort of relationship should not act as if they are a victim to the situation either. If the relationship is consensual then they are also consenting to taking their own responsibility for the situation as well. In the end though, I do not feel that any type of relationship between consenting adults should stay between those consenting adults. Unless, of course, there is actual proof that incentives, favors, abuse, or any other form of foul-play is being done.

Lauren P.  on  7/21/2015 8:07:07 PM commented:

I do agree with the author in the case of students being of legal age should be allowed to have relations with whomever they want as long as it's consentual. When it comes to situations when the student plays as the victim both sides should be thoroughly heard out. These students of legal age should be more civil when it comes to their personal relations. Why do the professors date such childish students?

Dashanell O  on  7/21/2015 7:30:23 PM commented:

I honestly believe that if their hearts are on the right place and the two individuals truly care for one another that it should not be a problem . Now if that student is apart of that professors class then it would definitely be a problem due to favoritism obviously . If one loves another they wouldn't be able to give them a bad grade or even fail them .

Octivia W  on  7/21/2015 7:24:37 PM commented:

I think the students should also be held accountable in lieu of the consensual relationships between professors & students...I think they should be expelled from the institution in which they attend...Fair is fair...

Charlene C.  on  7/21/2015 7:04:07 PM commented:

Yes, I feel as though students have the right to get into a relationship with their professors, being that they are responsible enough to handle the consequences coming out of it. At this stage, the students are no longer children so they have the ability to make decisions that they couldn't make in the past. However, the student has to be responsible and consider all the sides to this type of relationship. They can't go into something like this blindly. No, there should not be laws against them treating them like children because they are no longer children. Students should be equally responsible: if they consented to it they have to suffer the consequences for themselves. I personally do not support relationships with huge age gaps; that is already asking for trouble later on down the road. The older partner will obviously try to overpower the younger one. If a relationship is going to work, age difference must not be too high.

Elisabeth s  on  7/21/2015 6:43:23 PM commented:

College is not a dating website it's for learning

Sara A.  on  7/21/2015 6:37:07 PM commented:

I think that it's allowable if the student isn't taking a class with the professor and is an adult. However, it should be consensual in every way. If the student is in a class taught by their significant other, no relationship should be allowed. It opens the door for favoritism and a lot of other issues.

Jessica C.  on  7/21/2015 6:32:53 PM commented:

It is a two way street. If an individual in power decides to cross boundaries with a subordinate, there needs to be something in place that elicits accountability on the professors behalf. Also, the same needs to be said for students. If a student, which knowingly and willingly participates in the relationship, they as well need to have consequences. This avoids students entering or seducing professors for a gain in the future. The same way you would not enter a boyfriend or girlfriend on a resume, why would it be acceptable to use an ex lover as a reference? Maybe the student should be forced out of a program, letters of reprimand in their official school file? anything really, but they both need to be treated equally with consequences.

Charlene C.  on  7/21/2015 6:32:39 PM commented:

Yes, I feel as though students have the right to get into a relationship with their professors, being that they are responsible enough to handle the consequences coming out of it. At this stage, the students are no longer children so they have the ability to make decisions that they couldn't make in the past. However, the student has to be responsible and consider all the sides to this type of relationship. They can't go into something like this blindly. No, there should not be laws against them treating them like children because they are no longer children. Students should be equally responsible: if they consented to it they have to suffer the consequences for themselves. I personally do not support relationships with huge age gaps; that is already asking for trouble later on down the road. The older partner will obviously try to overpower the younger one. If a relationship is going to work, age difference must not be too high.

Lilique L  on  7/21/2015 6:22:50 PM commented:

Relationships between a teacher and student have to be limited no matter how emotionally attached the teacher and student are. Teachers involved with students are faced with a conflict of interest. Biased grades and opportunities for the student are very likely outcomes. Dangerously enough if something goes wrong and the student and teacher begin to dislike each other this can cause the Teacher to drop the students grade on purpose and the Student would then be faced with having to drop the class because of the poor grade and or probation depending on how the college works. Often in colleges it is suggested that Professors do not engage with their Students outside of classes until said Student is no longer in their class. More than likely because of human nature, the outcome would be that the Teacher/Professor would show favoritism to the Student they are emotionally involved with and therefore give them what they want in their class.

Rosemary A.  on  7/21/2015 6:13:18 PM commented:

Read Tomcat In Love by Tim O'brien. It touches on this topic in terms of the main character. It is a touchy topic but I see her point. But in a way, professors still have favorites even without sexual benefits. I just don't think it will work due to the diversity in personality and how people handle sexual relationships and how people will view sexual relationships between professor and student.

Jordan m  on  7/21/2015 6:09:40 PM commented:

For me, it's almost the same as companies banning office relationships. I see nothing wrong with banning student-teacher relationships because even if you see it as true love, there will always be doubt. In my opinion, it would be harder trying to avoid making biased decisions rather than just avoiding the relationship as a whole.

Iris M  on  7/21/2015 5:50:20 PM commented:

If the student us if consenting age and the teacher is consenting in the relationship then it should be treated as any relationship on the campus. However the student shouldn't be enrolled in the class that the professor is teaching.

Iyanuoluwa A.  on  7/21/2015 5:23:18 PM commented:

It's a very sensitive situation seeing as to how it could b cine a liability, but once an adult is able to consent then it shouldn't be limited to only a few people. If you truly feel safe and prepared to advance in a relationship with your professor, you should be prepared for the emotional stain that might come from that. Although the teacher is in a position to fail or pass you based on the status of relationship that is also something the student should be prepared for if they feel ready to advance in a relationship with a teacher. There should be no law preventing such relationship but at the same time it doesn't need to be encouraged just permitted.

Cierrah G  on  7/21/2015 5:21:36 PM commented:

It is a touchy subject and I do think it needs to be handled one case at a time. Although, I dont think the student should be involved with their own teacher because that does that can affect the way the student is graded. However, if the student is of legal age and is not in their class I don't see why they can't have an intimate relationship with a teacher at that school. Just make sure it is legal.

Alexa D  on  7/21/2015 5:16:49 PM commented:

If a student and professor are dating while the student is in the professor's class, it could easily become a problem. The student could be favored over the other students, ranging from higher grades to unfairly being picked for internships and biased letters of recommendations. A learning relationship between a student and professor isn't harmful in itself, assuming both people are sane. The relationship could benefit both parties with companionship and learning. Therefore, students should be moved to another class if they come forward and admit to having a romantic relationship. There is no reason to punish honesty and integrity. On the other hand, if one or both parties hide the relationship, they should be punished. The student should be suspended and the professor fired. It's impossible for the professor to avoid being at least biased, therefore the student would receive an unfair advantage.

Ashley H  on  7/21/2015 4:52:03 PM commented:

I think it's a tricky situation. I believe that a professor should maintain professionalism, but at the same time, as long as the student is of age, it should be fine. However, I think that the student should not be allowed to be enrolled in the professor's class because it could cause bias and unjust grades.

Angellica G.  on  7/21/2015 4:41:43 PM commented:

I believe that it's with both the heart and mind, but both the student and professor must take equal and full responsibility for their choices of becoming romantically involved with each other.

nate s  on  7/21/2015 4:22:31 PM commented:

I'm with Emily on this one! It actually makes sense because they spend so much time together and it's usually spent talking about mutual subjects, so these relationships are bound to happen... It's just another link in the chain of "equality". First there were issues with blacks and whites, then gays. There will always be something for someone to complain about, but seeing how they are of legal age and consent. They should both be held accountable for their actions.

David S  on  7/21/2015 4:15:29 PM commented:

I don't think there is one definitive answer. A case can be made for either side but at the end of the day I feel you have to take it case by case. When you turn 18 you're given a choice of who you want to run our country, you're old enough to decide if you want to sacrifice your life defending our freedom. You should be smart enough to decide who you sleep with.

Cora B  on  7/21/2015 4:01:33 PM commented:

I think this is not shocking at all. This happens all the time and most people are accepting of it. I think it should be legal for the fact that both are adults and they can consent.

Derris L.  on  7/21/2015 4:00:41 PM commented:

Teacher/student relationships do leave the teacher and the student responsible when the relationship is found out. It would not make sense for the student to plead as a victim if they too had the choice in having this relationship. Law shouldn't be used as a crutch as if the didn't have a say.

Virginia D  on  7/21/2015 3:52:48 PM commented:

I believe as long as the student is at the age of consent and the professor feels the same way they should be aloud to see each other as they please. As long as the student is no longer a pupil for that professor. In today's world it is seen as taboo for this to happen, but it is actually a normal occurrence. The only issue I can see coming up is inequality. Both people must be able to set aside their level of authority over one another when they begin to see each other personally. Equality is key.

Kimberly Hatchett  on  7/21/2015 3:42:53 PM commented:

Social networking is great but can be a serious issues. I strongly think as a professor they should be professional. There should be boundaries about teachers dating students. Becoming a professional there should be guidelines and rules that speak upon professors dating students and should be enforced strongly each school year. So that issues dont get out of hand such as this article.

Mackenzie B  on  7/21/2015 3:38:46 PM commented:

I had a mini heart attack because I misunderstood and thought this topic was regarding high school students and teachers. However, now that I understand the actual context of the topic, I can properly respond. These types of relationships may or may not cause havoc in the classroom. The risk is simply not worth it because it can be avoided. If a student is dating a professor, they should not be allowed to take that professor's classes. Most classes have multiple teachers, so there shouldn't be an issue finding an alternative class.

Phil S  on  7/21/2015 3:24:23 PM commented:

I agree with Jessica K. The military prohibits relationships of subordinates and supervisors for similar reasons. If the student is in the professor's class, it should absolutely be avoided; not because of the lack of independence or some self-righteous declaration of consent, but because of the illusion of impropriety. The University, professor, or student open themselves up to law suits from any individual that knows about the relationship and feels they should be performing just as well no matter how much unbiased grading occurs.

Ariana H.  on  7/21/2015 3:22:22 PM commented:

I honestly feel that choices should be made with the heart and the mind together. This situation is far too complicated-why put yourself through it? It's not very wise to.

Emily W.  on  7/21/2015 3:17:57 PM commented:

In today's age, it's not shocking that professors have romantic relations with their students. It happens behind closed doors all the time and they get away with it. Should it be legal? Yes, because two consenting adults should have the right to be in a relationship. Wether or not one of the consenting adults will abuse their power over the other really cannot be controlled, just like in any other romantic relationship. If we were to legalize these relationships, they would no longer be a taboo and people would no longer be able to use laws as leverage to force their will onto the other person.

Azariah B  on  7/21/2015 3:16:09 PM commented:

I think this topic is very important and I'm so glad to have read this. I think that college is very different from grade school. Firstly, students are underage, and they probably won't have much in common with their teachers anyway. So I understand the boundaries there. But in college, it is a totally different atmosphere. Students are trying to become comfortable with their independence, and teachers are trying to educate while living their lives. Students should be able to date their college professors if, and only if, they are able to notify a school personnel about the relationship. I believe that since the teacher has such power when it comes to that students grades and performance in a certain class, that should be somewhat monitored to ensure the relationship is personal, and not slipping into there work life. I also think that if the student does not have the professor for a class, they should be able to do whatever they want because at the end of the day, they are adults.

James C  on  7/21/2015 3:15:11 PM commented:

I believe that they should not be allowed. THe student has not fully develpoed

Jennifer S.  on  7/21/2015 3:11:32 PM commented:

I feel that's okay as long as both are over 21 and mature adults. As long as you can get it though your head that it may not last. That's something like Doctor's an Nurses you can't date them either. I feel that you must be mature about what your doing. It can get dicey but it can work if you want it too on both sides. Just don't do it for the grade, then you will be called something else.

T. Harves  on  7/21/2015 3:09:39 PM commented:

Here's an idea, find a less complicated relationship to get involved in. Teacher\student dating is just way more trouble than it's worth. The world is full of so many wonderful people to date. Move on. Have I been attracted to a Professor? Absolutely. In my major? Not necessarily. Either way, you enter something like that at your own peril. After you graduate do whatever you want, but not before.

Cory K.  on  7/21/2015 3:00:29 PM commented:

In terms of a "conflict of interest", I agree that the relationships need to be prohibited. In terms of personal accountability between two adults, no, the relationship should be allowed.

Annette R.  on  7/21/2015 2:55:45 PM commented:

i think both parties that are in the relationship should be accountable. Student or not, every person involved should have consequences. In today's society, everyone still wants to protect the kids, which doesn't give them any lesson learned from their mistakes.

Antoneshia Washington  on  7/21/2015 2:45:02 PM commented:

I think it's up to the person, our country has been fighting so hard for equality and freedom that student dating teachers shouldn't be judge. Now gay marriage is legal all over America which is apart of equality & less judgement. So if that's their decision let them who leaves it up to anyone to judge

Krishna Ellerbe  on  7/21/2015 2:41:37 PM commented:

I very interested and in need of help to finish school

Jessica K  on  7/21/2015 2:39:34 PM commented:

When someone has power over you (the professor over the student) you should not be allowed to date. Just as you cannot date you boss in the business world. Too many things can go wrong in such an instance. If you are not in a class taught by the professor (or a department over which he/she has the ability to influence those who could grade you, recommend you for an internship, hire you for a job) then by all means have at it - as long as you are aware that if things go sour you will probably still run into that person on occasion. I think the issue only comes in to play if that person has undue influence over your ability to succeed.

Kayla P.  on  7/21/2015 2:38:46 PM commented:

I am for this. There is just one thing... Let's say a student gets flirty with a professor. Its legal now to have these relationships so no one really cares. But one night the professor takes it too far and rapes the student, whose only intent was to flirt, or maybe kiss. These things are double-sided.

Jeremy Torres-Jimenez  on  7/21/2015 2:23:20 PM commented:

Now I have mixed emotions on this subject. On one hand I think that the consequences of student teacher dating could very easily be catastrophic. But in the other hand, I feel very strongly that it is truly no one's right to decide who can and can not be together. This is a great topic for discussion. I could even see essays written and test conducted on the subject.

Cheyenne c.  on  7/21/2015 2:11:21 PM commented:

i don't get why it's bad when it's student teacher but ok when a 20 year old dates a 50 year old.

unique r.  on  7/21/2015 2:04:29 PM commented:

this is a really complex claim, not that I can't agree with it but you do notice how college students that are "legally adults over age 21" treated like children. I understand that we're learning from them but....some teachers have a singular way of expressing that truth. If dating occurs between student and teacher...naturally you'd expect letters of recommendation to be restricted and then...there's the necessity to present a relationship to the college board so these restrained actions are followed.so initially you'd be marked for your participation in a "student-teacher" affinity.the real question is if the system will give you the rights of privacy...but if that occurs, then there's no reason for rules and constraints to exist, don't you think?

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