I always thought that this (cnn.com) was a pretty cut and dried ethical issue and wouldn't require much debate. It always seemed obvious to me that a professor shouldn't have a sexual relationship with one of their students, especially an undergrad. I just accepted it as a given. IMHO, the abuse of power and the conflict of interest issues would preclude that relationship. Maybe I'm just naive.
I think that you should be able to date whomever you want as long as they are of age. I guess yea that person you are dating should not be in one of your classes but you can date a student. As long as they are not in any of your classes what’s wrong with that?
I've always felt ambivalent about this. On one hand, you can say it is wrong because the instructor is in charge of their grade and there is a major conflict of interest. On the other hand, people often "mix business with pleasure" and use their status and their positions to get involved in romantic relationships. Should college instructors be deprived that? I have a problem with a professor being involved with one of his *current* students, but what about developing a relationship after the class has ended and then guaranteeing that the student no longer takes any of the instructor's classes?
The fact is, though, I firmly believe that many a professor are effected in their grading by whether or not they "like" the student, if you know what I mean. You probably see this more with male professor-female student situations. If there is a hot chick in a class and you can tell the instructor likes looking at her alot, the chances are pretty good that she is being given a better grade than someone else who turned in the same or better quality material. In fact I had this happen to me personally as a student, and I know the material the girl was handing in was just as good or maybe even a little worse than mine because *I wrote it for her.* (Yes, one of my little sad admissions. When you're a nerdy college student you'll do anything for attention.)
"Sex would be extremely difficult in a DeLorean, though. You'd have to be a real acrobat."
I agree with Corajudo, as a former academic, there's no way in this world I'd even think about getting involved with one of my current or former students (even if I wasn't married.) The potential for abuse is simply too great. While people often "mix business with pleasure", that doesn't make it right. It makes it even less acceptable when you consider that this is an educator TEACHING someone that this is how the world works. Call me naive, but I'd like to believe that we can teach better lessons than that in our classrooms.
If a faculty member decides to date a student, I think the only ethical way to do it would be to make sure that the student will never take a class in your department and has never taken a course from you. If the student is taking courses in your department, or, even worse, majoring or minoring in it, you've merely spread the responsibility for your ethical and personal failings to your colleagues and put them at risk. Personally, I think it really is a cut and dried issue. If I'm faculty and you are a student, or vice versa, it's "look but don't touch" until after the degree is granted.
"Verhoeven's _Starship Troopers_: Based on the back cover of the book by Robert Heinlein."
When I began as a teaching assistant at my university, it was made known that relationships with students were strictly forbidden. After the course has ended, everything's kosher, but as long as you are in a position of power and the university's reputation/money is at stake, it's hands-off. Furthermore, if one is even a friend of a student that has registered for that particular section of a course, one is to notify the professor in charge so that the student can be moved to another section. There were no allowances for conflicts of interest.