University of California professors are contemplating a new question this spring: Does dating your student flunk the ethics test?
Faculty are scheduled to vote on new rules this spring, completing a process that began well before the dean of UC's top law school left amid a sex scandal last fall.
The policy would make UC the latest school to ban the classroom courtships, joining such schools as the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa and Yale.
“It seems that more and more institutions are developing such policies in the hopes of avoiding having to deal with the issue when there's no policy in place,” says Donna Euben of the American Association of University Professors.
Some outside the system think the new policy is a mistake.
“I think it's unethical. It's an intrusion into personal and private relationships,” says Barry Dank, a sociology professor at California State University-Long Beach. “It's the bureaucratization of sexuality.”
Dank married one of his students in 2000, although he notes the marriage raised no eyebrows, perhaps because his wife is his contemporary in age.
Dank argues there are laws forbidding illegal behavior such as sexual harassment and says dating policies confuse consensual relationships with harassment.
Others contend that the balance of power between professor and student is so lopsided that students must be protected.
Along this line, it is well