In the volatile mix of academia and sex, UCLA psychology professor Paul R.
Abramson says he is trying to light a torch for liberty. Abramson is sharply
criticizing his own employer and colleges nationwide that have adopted
restrictions -- and, in a few cases, outright bans -- on romances between
faculty and students. Of course, sexual harassment should not be allowed and no
one should supervise or give grades to a romantic partner, says Abramson, who
has taught at UCLA for 31 years. But those concerns should not restrict the
right of consenting adults to have a non-exploitative relationship, he argues in
a new book.
University leaders say anti-dating rules protect students, usually graduate
students, who may feel their education is at risk when a relationship ends. As
expected, the book has triggered a few smirky comments about its author, who
teaches courses on human sexuality and whose previous writings tackled such
topics as abuse and incest, the spread of AIDS and the history of sexual
Too many people have an unrealistic stereotype of campus love, he said. "The
picture of it is the older professor and Suzie Coed. I'm sure such things happen, but the greater likelihood are people of similar ages, with similar interests, going for the same music and movies," like a 27-year-old assistant professor and a 24-year-old graduate student who later get married, he said.
Abramson's book began as a reaction to regulations adopted by the UC
regents in 2003; they didn't ban such hookups but declared that professors
should avoid romantic or sexual relationships with students for whom they have
"or should reasonably expect" to have teaching or supervisory responsibility.
That includes students interested in a subject within the professor's expertise
-- a definition that Abramson finds overly broad. Sanctions range from written
censure to dismissal.
The rules were adopted, amid some debate, partly in reaction to a
sexual harassment allegation at UC Berkeley. Its law school dean, John P. Dwyer,
resigned in 2002 after a student charged that he fondled her when she passed out
from heavy drinking. The dean said the encounter was consensual.
The fact that the Dwyer case was cited to support the rules shows that
campus leaders were more concerned about lawsuits than anything else, Abramson alleges
Um...you think? Who would have thought that a university would have the audacity to make rules in order to keep someone from suing them. Isn't that the whole purpose of rules? To set up boundaries so that everyone is safe and secure? Without boundaries, there is no way that every romance between a professor and a student remains always consensual and never affects grade.
Such a world doesn't exist. What does the professor expect, no boundaries at all? If I were president, I would ban alcohol. I would ban professors getting close to students for this very reason. There is no reason why a professor should be around a bunch of drunk students. I guarantee you that they were all drinking with the professor. I know this because I have seen it!
We have so lost the concept of morality on college campuses, that it is normal for professors to drink and party with the students. Since this is the case, then I guess it makes sense for them to have "romantic relationships" with them. This is simply absurd!
And finally, the professor suggests:
This is the most absurd argument I have ever heard. Something tells me that this isn't going to work. Who signs agreements before going on a date? It used to be that both signed an agreement to at least try it out. Now we have to worry about whether or not the person we are having dinner with us will fail us on the next test! This is simply absurd!!!!!
"Eliminating civil liberties to punish a small number of transgressors is
hardly the answer," he writes.
To allay legal fears, he suggests an alternative: All faculty and students would read and sign a release (a "love contract") that would warn about the power differences and favoritism that can arise from faculty-student dating. They then would promise, as in a medical release, not to hold the school responsible if the romance goes sour.
A "love contract?" You've got to be kidding me!
But this is the society in which we live. Boundaries must be removed, immorality must be at least experimented, and now, anything goes, just don't tell me I'm wrong. This is what you get whenever you mix human depravity with postmodernism. A recipe for moral disaster.
And it's common to a college near you!