Along the Tracks

Monday, February 27, 2006

OSU profs fighting for a special perk

You can charge them for their health care. You can put limits on their pensions. You can hold their salary increases to inflation plus umpteen percent.

But don't you dare try to take their right to have sex with their students!

Yeesh. I'm a pretty big Buckeye fan, but I don't think I'll ever let my kids go to school there.

a) The academic tradition (all the way back to the establishment of The Academy) is one of these kind of relationships.

b) The article doesn't specify the terms of the rule. Is it between all professors and all students? OSU is a huge campus and I'll be damned if they're going to tell me that I, as a 21 year old instructor (which is what I was when I got my first full-time faculty job) can't get involved with a 21 year old student who isn't even in my department. Or if I'm 27, like I am now, and am with an, oh, architecture grad student.

Upon further review of an article on the issue in The Lantern, it would seem to be exactly that way.

c) Sometimes, people are going to get together, and it's not avoidable. Many, many, many of my friends are couples who met while one was a grad student for another as faculty member. Just trust me on this one, Paul. A hard-and-fast policy is a bad idea. If professors are acting irresponsibly when it comes to grading or opportunities, it doesn't require a new policy to discipline them for that. We already have them in place.
Oh, and you're right. Your kids should definitely not go to OSU. Ohio's First And Finest in Athens is a much, much better school :-)

The teacher-student relationship is one of dominance and subordination. There is a barrier to the student exercising free choice - fear of academic punishment - which helps the teacher control the situation. Because the relationship is defined this way, any demands placed on the student by the teacher carry an implied threat (intentional or not). Such coercive relationships are commonly barred from including sexual intimacy: guard-prisoner, expert-intern, teacher-student at the high school level (even where the student is above the age of consent), etc.

I would agree with you the ban should not include relationships where the student is not in a class with the teacher, although even here, there is a potential for abuse of authority by deans and professors. The dangers are much smaller, however, and probably can be policed by present sexual harassment rules.

For some people, there is an inevitability to "getting together." Still, there's no reason it has to happen during the specific time when the student under the authority of the teacher involved. There are things like transfers to a different section or, God forbid, waiting until the semester is over.

Young women face enough predatory dangers in today's world. I see no reason to protect the privilege of the very, very few bad professors to prowl.
Ohio St is my favroite for sports as well, but ive always said if i had a daughter there would no way in hell I would let her go to OSU.
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