Universities must create an effective learning environment for students; university policy should be directed at creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. Whenever a faculty-student sexual relationship causes a student to drop a class, or a thesis, or school, that student has suffered a serious harm. Universities cannot simply answer that the student consented to the relationship and should handle the consequences. A university without a well-established and promulgated policy, one that at least acknowledges the risks involved in faculty-student sexual relationships and gives students a list of faculty and staff members to contact for support, seriously fails the students. Professors should not be sexually involved with students who are in their classes or working closely with them on research or a thesis; students should have access to support. The difficulty should not be in deciding whether to have an established and easily accessible consensual relationships policy. The difficulty comes instead in deciding whether to ban or simply discourage sexual relationships, and in developing effective mechanisms to promulgate and enforce the policy. Part I of this article will evaluate university consensual relationships policies that ban or discourage sexual relationships. Part II focuses on consent and the potential harms that policy makers should consider in developing or reevaluating their policies. Part III critiques the liberal view that regulation of faculty-student sex overburdens individuals’ right to privacy. Part IV focuses on the writings of Jane Gallop and bell hooks, who offer stories about faculty-student relationships from the two professors' points of view.
Margaret H. Mack,
Regulating Sexual Relationships Between Faculty and Students,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol6/iss1/3