In the past decade, schools such as Yale, Duke, Ohio Wesleyan, and the College of William & Mary have enacted similar bans, some stricter, some more lenient.
The majority of universities may have no official policy at all, but more are moving from vague statements "discouraging" faculty-student relationships to specific bans."I always say the real story is, what took us so long?
" says Gayle Binion, a professor of political science at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the chair of the academic senate when it developed and approved the new rule.
"We recognize that among graduate students and faculty, these relationships develop, but it's not appropriate while you're overseeing a student's work."Aside from a group of Berkeley professors who were vocally opposed, as well as the student representative to the Board of Regents, Dr. If the policy had been in place a year earlier, it might have prevented the scandal involving the dean of the Berkeley campus's law school who resigned after a student - whom he claimed he was seeing consensually - accused him of sexual harassment.
Put simply, professors can no longer date their students.
Or, to be more exact, teachers can no longer date students in their classes, or students for whom they "should reasonably expect" in the future to have academic responsibility.
In some ways, sex between students and their professors is part of the mythology of academia.
And it's a question that more and more universities are wrestling with.
That goes for deans, too, or anyone else in a supervisory role.
For some, it's a rule that seems like a no-brainer, an articulation of what should already be basic professional conduct.
Others see it as protectionism - a throwback to an "in loco parentis" version of the university that doesn't account for the myriad complexities of individual relationships and that could, more widely, put a damper on even nonsexual friendships between faculty and students.
Either way, it highlights some questions about the ethics of relationships, especially when they involve a difference in authority, and who has a right to govern those relationships.
When students and faculty at the nine University of California campuses returned to classrooms last fall, they faced a new rule governing their interactions.
It's a rule that, for the vast majority, will have no impact on their lives, and yet - perhaps because of the taboo scenarios it evokes - has gotten outsized attention.