When I teach courses about how to teach, about psychotherapy, or about ethics, we discuss the nature of teacher-student, or psychotherapist-client, or consultant-consultee, relationships.I find it useful to have students consider a range of metaphors they can use for the professional relationships they are studying.Interactions between the faculty and students at Washington University in St.Louis are guided by mutual trust, confidence and professional ethics.The most notorious recent example is Christina, the 15-year-old East Harlem girl who crossed the country with her former gym teacher. The teen-ager has said their relationship became intimate only after the two began their odyssey across the country."Sex between teachers and students is much more common than people are willing to acknowledge," said Charol Shakeshaft, a Hofstra University professor and co-author of a four-year study on school sexual abuse that appeared this March in Phi Delta Kappan, an education journal.
Even when the faculty member has no professional responsibility for a student, the faculty member should be sensitive to the perceptions of other students that a student who has a consensual relationship with a faculty member may receive preferential treatment from the faculty member or the faculty member’s colleagues.reported this weekend that the City University of New York (CUNY) has proposed a tightening of its sexual harassment policy to ban sexual relationships between professors and “students for whom they have professional responsibility.” Teacher/student hookups are currently “strongly discouraged” in the policy, but the faculty senate and legal counsel both say they should be banned.Columbia University, also in New York, is finalizing a similar ban on professor/student relationships this month.Some peeps are balking at the proposal: one student quoted by the post groused, “we’re in a post-secondary facility, we don’t need to be babysat or monitored.” A male professor complained, “They’re trying to ban love!It’s not realistic, because grown women fall in love and have affairs with older men and nobody can legislate this.” “Banning love” is a bit of a melodramatic overstatement.
There are lots of things one should not do in college, such as eat ramen noodles for every meal 16 weeks straight, but that does not stop most of us from doing it anyway.