Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Ivy Love

Politicsdaily has just published what the dankprofessor calls a diatribe by Lizzie Kurnich against student professor relationships.  She writes about this subject based on stereotypes and an imagination run amok.  All of this came about as a result of Yale passing a non-fraternization policy between Yale profs and student undergraduates.  The policy includes the amorous clause which I have commented on previously.  My response to Ms. Kurnich follows.

Lizzie Kurnich is pompous and presumptuous in terms of how she views both students and professors who engage in sexual intimacy.  She writes off such relationships as crushes, makes short shrift of the love engaged professor as simply wanting the approval of someone too young or wishes to engage in a the long vacation in land of youth. And then portrays female students as dumbfounded, such students would be incapable of carrying on a conversation based on her vision of the erudite professor.

Ms. Kurnich apparently is incapable of transcending her fictive constructions and imagining the possibility that there are professors and students who share a love of knowledge can also share a knowledge of love. These two loves are not antithetical but can represent the ideal of  the romantically and intellectually inclined.

And as for her dinner experience with a male student, such was positively fine for her. Such could also be fine for a male prof who is involved with a specific female student.  Ms. Kurnich seems to impute that such a professor is sexually obsessed with ALL of his female students.  She finds it easy to sexually objectify such male profs.  She views them thru her sexually tinged lenses. Now if these professors were in her terms sexually conventional she would not see them as being sexually obsessed and immature.  The sin of these profs is that they do not worship the God of Normal as Ms. Kurnich apparently worships.

But I think it is quite easy to get beyond what is normal, what is immature, what is a crush and to view university environments as representing a geography in which there is a high concentration of persons who are eligible, who are looking for dates and mates.  The principle of propinquity really does explain the tendency of some students and professors to date.  They are part of the same geographic and often the same intellectual and social communities.

Oh, and let me add this note, not all students and professor pairings represent a huge age discrepancy.  My wife is two years older than myself and she was two years older than myself when I met her when I was a prof and she was a student.  And yes, I expect that Ms. Kurnich and others who share her view would argue that we are exceptions, not the people they have in mind.  But in the university sexual codes they defend we are trashed just like all the other student prof couples.  And, at the risk of repetition, such represents the core of the problem since our detractors simply cannot comprehend that the student professor labels can be transcended, boundaries can be crossed and the individuality of the other can be transcended, appreciated and loved. In Buberian terms its about going from an I-it to an I-thou relationship.


April 8, 2010 Posted by | consensual relationships, fraternization, higher education, sex, sexual politics, student professor dating, Yale University | 1 Comment

   

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