December 27, 2014

THOUGHTS ON PROFESSOR-STUDENT DATING. The interesting discussion is in the comments.

UPDATE: What do I think? Honestly, I’m not sure. Having grown up as a faculty brat, my view of faculty-student relationships is fairly negative. But on the other hand, some of those relationships have been grand — Charles and Barbara Black, for example. The sex-for-an-A kind of conflict-of-interest is, I think, not so common as is popularly supposed — but, especially in small humanities departments, when one prof is dating a grad student, it naturally colors that student’s relationships with everyone. And just because the rules against faculty-student dating are being pushed by a lot of prim, humorless scolds doesn’t actually mean they’re wrong. I certainly never dated law students when I was single, but, then, I wasn’t big on dating law students even when I was one. But I have a strong sense that the rules wind up being applied unevenly, and with a political cast, as such rules tend to be.

When I was visiting at Virginia, pre-InstaPundit, the campus was debating a ban on professor-student dating (it failed, mostly due to student pressure). I remember telling Saul Levmore that I thought that student-faculty relationships were a bad idea. His response: Most relationships turn out to be a bad idea. . . .

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