Teacher student dating relationships

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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.

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SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers Tuesday rejected a bill that would have made it a felony for teachers to date their students.

Its two Republican members were absent, and one Democrat abstained from voting.

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, who sponsored the bill, accused committee members of siding with predators.

“The committee today stood up for predators and union bosses instead of students,” Olsen said in a phone interview.

“We will continue to work hard to make sure that California passes this bill or something similar.” Olsen’s bill would have made it a felony for a high school teacher to have a relationship with a student, regardless of the student’s age.

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 previous policy at Connecticut was to "strongly discourage" any relationship in which there was some sort of "power imbalance between the parties." In fact, the vast majority of American colleges have no specific prohibition against relationships or sexual interactions between professors and their pupils, though many have suggested that they may not be such a good idea.

That is, this new rule seems completely uncontroversial, but it’s a very recent development.

The integrity of the University's educational mission is promoted by professionalism that derives from mutual trust and respect in instructor-student relationships.

Similarly, the University is committed to the principle of protecting the integrity and objectivity of its staff members in the performance of their University duties.

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