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A curious love

Where is the line between personal and professional in student-professor relationships? (Chris Parent photo)
Where is the line between personal and professional in student-professor relationships? (Chris Parent photo)

When I first think about student-professor relationships, my mind immediately calls up a porno and for some reason Evan Stone is in it. I don’t know why my mind does that, and I am not sure what it says about the subject, but my thoughts are usually sexual. Of course, these thoughts are not always true to reality, and their probability depends on the nature of the relationship in question.

Most of us want strong professional relationships with professors and that is completely fine. We want to show them that we stand out. We want to get up on a desk and scream “captain my captain!” to demonstrate our interest in the class. We hope that some will remember us, and if needed, write us recommendation letters for jobs or graduate schools.

But what about romantic relationships between students and professors? Most people would probably agree that such a relationship is wrong and maybe even gross. But I think a lot of the time this is because people believe professors look like Gandalf or Judge Judy. I think opinions could change if the professor is considered attractive.

For instance, what if the professor looked like Ryan Gosling or Blake Lively? Well, that may be too extreme, so just picture their stunt doubles. There would probably be a little voice in your head, nagging you, saying, “This is wrong. What are you doing?” But there would probably be another, more persuasive voice that would put the first voice in a headlock and scream “DO IT.”

We will always be scrutinized, no matter the social situation. If a student were to become involved in a relationship with their professor, they would have to undergo the uncomfortable stares of their classmates, who would likely all assume that student was getting preferential treatment. They would have to live with themselves as a violator of a very basic ethical no-no in the university system. Could the benefit really outweigh the cost in this scenario? But if a student was in a relationship with a professor whose class they were most pointedly not taking, maybe those stares would just be of an envious nature.

It’s tough to say whether all romantic professor-student relationships are wrong. It would be easy to crucify any student that was involved in one, but who knows for sure what they would do if the opportunity presented itself? People are usually critical in nature, but hypocritical in action. Everyone thinks they’re Dudley-Do-Right, but all it takes is one Gosling-esque professor to send that out the window.


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