Student-faculty dating

By Jen Mok

Contributing Writer

Our school has set out to better the climate and is making a great effort to address issues such as sexual harassment. Among the many concerns of our campus is the possibility of a romantic relationship between faculty members and students.

Last week, “The Bucknellian” featured an article addressing the new policy presented by the Faculty and Academic Personnel Committee (FAPC) that stated: “Any sexual or romantic relationship between a faculty member and a student may damage the integrity of the academic and living environment at Bucknell, and is therefore strongly discouraged.” This new policy clearly expresses disapproval of and opposition to any sexual affiliation between a faculty member and student.

So there you have it. It is officially inappropriate for students and faculty to engage in intimate relationships. Some of you may be disheartened by this formal declaration, but I completely agree and am content with the committee’s decision.

I personally view professors as adults who have extensively studied their specialties and are mentors who are there to provide both academic and moral guidance. They are people who I have immense respect for and truly appreciate. I would never, no matter how incredibly intelligent, handsome, witty or irresistibly alluring a professor may be, act upon any romantic impulses in order to keep my respect for him first and foremost as my teacher.

I am also against dating a professor because of the inevitable biases and conflicts that would arise. The most crucial detail of a relationship between a professor and a student is that no matter what, the professor is still a teacher. It is highly likely, no matter how unfair, that the student involved would receive extra help due to the nature of the relationship. In addition, a romantic relationship would alter the advice or guidance normally given by the professor and therefore ruin the nature of a teacher-student relationship.

I am also against the age/generation gap between the two individuals. A young professor may be around his late 30s or even early 40s. As a first-year, if I were to date my professor there would be at least an 18-20 year gap. This means that when I was born, my beloved or lover would have already graduated from high school. Can we all think about this for a minute? The numbers clearly show that this is a highly inappropriate relationship. When I was a baby, wearing diapers and sucking on my thumb, my professor was already attending frat parties and researching possible careers. Does that not seem odd?

Popular TV shows such as “Gossip Girl,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “One Tree Hill” and “90210” all have featured some sort of romantic teacher-student relationships. These may have skewed our views by making the professor more charismatic or seductive and making the whole scenario a bit more sexy, dreamy and normal. But as stated above, the realities are far from what is presented on television. Besides, how many of these unrealistic romances actually survived or even concluded on a positive note? You might want to think about that the next time you start crushing on a professor.

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