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But administrators, professors and students alike say that the issue of faculty-student dating is a complex one.Some say that the unequal power in a relationship between a student and a faculty member -- particularly one who is in a position to grade or make recommendations about the student he or she is dating -- is inherently exploitative.(Just count the times this author uses the word “hero.”) Thus, the master/protégé dynamic cements power differentials that are simply too pronounced to create a healthy relationship, Not to mention the fact that grad-student/faculty relationships literally ruin careers: When a student and faculty member start sleeping together, rarely is it a well-kept secret; often, the student becomes a departmental pariah.Without support from fellow students (and, often, dismissed by the other professors in the department), many of these once-promising grad students wind up out of the discipline entirely.
It happens because in many academic disciplines—such as, of course, philosophy, which already enjoys a reputation for misconduct—there is a tendency for beginning scholars to have “philosophical idols,” as explained to me by Meena Krishnamurthy, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba.
This is not just icky—it is highly damaging to the profession.
For despite the handful of happy families that result from professor/grad student couplings, the practice has an overwhelmingly deleterious effect on the academic community.
For those who value intellect in romantic partners, professors can be extremely alluring.
They're often older, but sometimes only by a decade or so, meaning that physical attraction is often a possibility right from the start.