Prohibit, Protect, PoliceAn article criticizing Women's Studies director Ann Lane and a new proposal to restrict student-faculty sexual relations. The article argues that the ban does not distinguish between issues of sexual harassment, and instances of mutual consent between students and faculty. It advocates that consensual sexual relationships between students and faculty should be permissible.
Prohibit, Protect, Police
If you want a controversial proposal to appear tame, muddle the issues. At least that's the tactic Women's Studies Director Ann Lane appears prepared to take on the proposed ban on all student-faculty dating, judging from her performance on Larry King Live.
Lees keep the issues straight. There's harassment, where a professor extorts sex for grades. And there's conflict of interest, where professor grades a student he's dating. If that were all there was to the proposed ban, it would hardly be controversial, and we could commend the faculty senate for enacting the long overdue limits into policy.
But the proposalâ€™s language is much more sweeping than that. According to the proposal faculty member may not make romantic or sexual overtures to, or engage in sexual relations with, any undergraduate student. So, for example, if you're a 21-year-old undergraduate architecture student and you meet a 27-year-old assistant professor of law at a social event, you can't start dating unless your lover is willing to risk incurring some penalty unspecified by the proposal.
Now of course that's not a case of sexual harassment or conflict of interest. So then what's the reason for banning cases like it? Prof. Lane would like us to believe that it's because students need be protected from the â€œpower differentialâ€ that faculty members on students and the "hurtâ€ of those abusive relationships. But that reason only makes sense if weâ€™re talking about sexual harassment whose prohibition no one means to challenge. So why muddle it?
The reason is that, where sexual harassment and conflicts of interest aren't at issue, such views represent pure paternalism. â€œeven in situations that appear consensual," said one supporter of proposal, â€œboth the power and trust in the role of 'teacher' renders dubious student's purported 'consent'.â€ In other words, you are not adults. You're little kids incapable of consenting to certain sexual relationships, and the Faculty Senate is going to protect you. Never mind the risk of getting hurt is one you take whenever you enter a relationship of any sort. Youâ€™ll have to wait until you're 22-year-old graduate students â€“ then you'll be allowed to consent. In the meantime, the president's advisory committee on womenâ€™s concerns, which drafted the proposal, will apply in loco parentis to you.
Prof. Lane wants to muddle the issue by casting it as a vote against sexual harassment, whose prohibition no one disputes. For once we keep our issues straight, we see the proposal as an excuse to police sexual behavior.
Call the Faculty Senate at 924-7643 and tell them to stay out of your bedroom.
(Chris Naticchia is a graduate college student.)
|Date Added||August 3, 2015|
|Date Modifed||December 25, 2017|
|Collection||Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination|
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