Student-teacher relationships in college

Johnny Lu

When it comes to dating in college, people tend to think of students dating students. Rarely does the discussion of students dating teachers pop up.

From high school consent cases to crazy college busts, there is just as much controversy surrounding student-teacher scandals as cases such as drugs or violence.

The question is whether there’s ever a point where it becomes acceptable for a college student to date a teacher. When it comes to the subject of love, some can argue that factors such as age or occupation should be unconditional.

“I beg to differ. Both parties are consenting adults,” Walter Tardieff, biology major, said. “I understand if a high school student is joint-enrolled or in some college program, because he or she is still underage, but you can see and love whoever you please as a legal adult.”

Referring to the university’s policy system and guidelines, Associate Dean of Students Kerry Greenstein, said that student-teacher relationships in college shouldn’t be an issue as long as school professionalism and legalities aren’t tampered with.

“It’s only advised not to date your professor, it’s not mandated,” Greenstein said. “I don’t see a problem as long as things such as grades and learning aren’t affected in the relationship.”

Different schools have different systems and policies. Some universities may allow students to engage with their class instructors outside of class while some encourage students only to see instructors who don’t teach a class they are currently enrolled in as the university doesn’t want personal, outside relations to affect grading and other class-related matters.

Emory University School of Medicine, for example, states that when a teacher-student consensual sexual relationship exists, has previously existed, or develops, the teacher must decline to participate in any evaluative or supervisory academic activity with respect to the student.

GSU’s rival school Georgia State University, in fact, enforces a policy where instructors, including grad and teaching assistants, must only be in contact with current students through telephone, messaging and scheduled office visits in regards to academic-related matters.

“The topic can be argued endlessly, but at the end of the day, love is love,” Ally Craig, freshman sociology major, said.