Professor student dating relationships
On whether such relationships are likely to be nonconsensual, Mc Arthur looks at some empirical work: In Glaser and Thorpe’s (1986, 49) survey of 464 former graduate students, all female, about their sexual involvement with professors, nearly all reported that they ‘felt no coercion or exploitation whatsoever.’ Bellas and Gossett (540) similarly found that, among those in their smaller survey, ‘none of the students felt coerced to initiate or to sustain their relationships …
students believed that they entered into them freely—their relationships were, at least in their own minds, consensual.’ We must consider, too, that it is by no means always the professor who initiates romantic contact.
An ongoing context that produces some successful relationships probably involves a greater number of relationship .
Some of these attempts fail, and it is likely that some of these attempts will involve sexual harassment.
But it was not easy to make clear sense of the charge.
Something was said to Richard [Wollheim, then chair of the department] of this, and he found her another tutor. It preserved me from an undergraduate or two with the invigorating idea of an extra-curricular connection with their tutor.
(It is unclear whether these students were ones Honderich had any supervisory role over.) I’ve reproduced the passage here not to provide an occasion for excoriating Honderich.
It isn’t obvious that it is wrong for professors to have consensual romantic or sexual relations with students at their university over whom they have no supervisory role, and it is not clear to what extent such a judgment was seriously entertained 55 or so years ago.
But was the conventional view of the weight of this obligation correct? It did not escape me either that I was not alone in my ways.
There were others than our Abelard who were not burdened by their tacit undertaking.