Must judges and senators be romantically involved only with people of similar status? But if a 22-year-old graduate student gets involved with a 24-year-old teaching assistant or a 28-year-old assistant professor, and I think that's much more likely, that relationship is also prohibited by university policy." Why do companies have such policies? Universities, in contrast, generally present the policies as an attempt to prevent status abuse, he said.
"Do I think it's wise for an 18-year-old to be involved with a 40-year-old? Many of the country's premier universities, including Yale and the University of California, prohibit faculty-student romance, with the penalty of possible termination for faculty who violate the policy.
" I feel it is well within the scope of an acceptable question.
An individual may not initiate or participate in institutional decisions involving a direct benefit or penalty to someone with whom that individual has had a sexual relationship.
Grad student sleeping with a professor who has any sort of power over them (teaching a class they are taking, the teacher for a class they are TAing, advisor/advisee relationship, committee member, etc.) is potentially coersive and universally a bad idea. If the relationship works, and the junior woman gets a job at the same university as her partner, she will be plagued by doubts about her achievements, but the woman in almost any spousal hire situation will have to deal with this no matter what the circumstances of the relationship are.
Then there are the middle cases concerning whether or not the faculty member is in the same subfield as the grad student and whether or not they are housed at the same university as the grad student.
What sorts of restrictions do universities place on romantic or sexual relationships between faculty and graduate students, and what are the underlying issues that motivate these restrictions?
There is also the fear, put forth by Potnia, So here's my breakdown of various (idealized) relationships that could be occurring in the post (and a few more cases). I see no problem with this, no matter what the gender distribution.
The ensuing discussion was mostly about why this is not a good idea (and some about Dr. I'd made a not very deeply thought out comment about the intrinsic sexism in the situation.
The specifics involved a female grad student dating a male professor (not on her committee) in the department.
It’s not just a matter of two consenting adults’ hearts wanting what they want.
Because not only are these relationships almost always an unacceptable abuse of power, they also affect the dynamics of departments, entire fields, and the very act of academic mentorship altogether.