Even though the vast majority of educators already live by an ethical norm, you still need to show the institution’s position and deal with the rare cases when someone violates it.Nationally, universities have taken different approaches to the problem of professor-student relationships.University fraternization rules are sometimes vague. It is a commonly held belief that everyone is considered an adult at the college level and should know where to draw the line.At many schools, there are no formal rules about professors dating students. For most educators, there is an unwritten rule that getting involved with students is a bad idea.At Ohio Northern University, the faculty handbook dictates that “faculty and staff members should not have sexual relations with students to whom they are not married.” At the University of Michigan, romantic relationships are not forbidden but are considered to be a violation of ethics if the faculty member supervises the student.Faculty members are also required to inform their supervisor if they are having a relationship with a student.
Historically, male professors have considered a campus full of available young women a perk of academia.The most popular approach is to ban relationships between professors and the students they supervise.At the College of William and Mary in Virginia, all dating between professors and undergraduates was banned.This is the direct result of a former instructor writing an embarrassing article about his affair with a student.
Real policy changes did not occur until the late 1980s and 1990s, when courts said schools could be held liable in sexual harassment cases.Since then, many universities have begun to address student-professor dating.