Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Consensual Relationships Policy

The sexual regulations beat goes on in university land; it is everywhere  and nowhere.  Seldom commented on and tacitly accepted.
So the dankprofessor now goes to Oklahoma, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences.  Here is their policy along with my comments.
CONSENSUAL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS POLICY
Rationale
The University’s educational mission is promoted by professionalism in faculty-student relationships. Professionalism is fostered by an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.
Now the dankprofessor can relate to this- professionalism fostered by mutual trust and respect. Only if such were the case.  Mutual trust and respect is an oxymoron as to what now follows.
Actions of faculty members and students that harm this atmosphere undermine professionalism and hinder fulfillment of the University’s educational mission. Trust and respect are diminished when those in positions of authority abuse, or appear to abuse, their power. Those who abuse, or appear to abuse, their power in such a context violate their duty to the University community.
Of course abusers do violate their duty to the university community.  The problem is that the people who create and promulgate these policies are abusers since they systematically violate the autonomy and privacy of students, professors and staff.
Faculty members exercise power over students, whether in giving them praise or criticism, evaluating them, making recommendations for further studies or their future employment, or conferring any other benefits on them. Amorous relationships between faculty members and students are wrong when the faculty member has professional responsibility for the student. Such situations greatly increase the chances that the faculty member will abuse his or her power and sexually exploit the student. Voluntary consent by the student in such a relationship is suspect, given the fundamentally asymmetric nature of the relationship.
Axiomatic here, ignore what students say; they can’t consent so their input is of no value re consent.
Moreover, other students and faculty may be affected by such unprofessional behavior because it places the faculty member in a position to favor or advance one student’s interest at the expense of others and implicitly makes obtaining benefits contingent on amorous or sexual favors.
Implicitly is the keyword here.  But nothing elaborated on about implicitly.  What I think it means is when an administrator or whomever believes such is the case, it is the case.  No need to prove anything; this is what a person(s) believes.  Now if the student and the prof make it explicit
that there were no illicit benefits; such does not count; can’t take the student seriously.  Now, is this mutual trust and respect?
Therefore, the University will view it as unethical if faculty members engage in amorous relations with students enrolled in their classes or subject to their supervision, even when both parties appear to have consented to the relationship.

Again, no iota of mutual trust or respect.  Everyone, almost everyone, is suspect, except of course the administrators enforcing the policy.

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May 28, 2010 - Posted by | consensual relationships, higher education, sex, sexual politics, student-prof dating

1 Comment »

  1. Whenever I read about students/employees having no say in consensual dating with a professor/teaching assistant, or supervisor at work, I am reminded of Susan B. Anthony’s trial. She was arrested for voting for Ulysses Grant, in the 1872 election for president. As a woman, her testimony wasn’t completely allowed, by biased judge Ward Hunt. Although convicted, Susan B. won on appeal, not only for herself, but also for the young men who had registered her to vote, in a Rochester Barber Shop.
    When College Administrators or Human Resources Managers at work dismiss the student’s/lower status employee’s claim that the dating was consensual, they are acting just like Judge Hunt, in their bias! Instead of gender, the status of the person involved is grounds to ignore his/her testimony, as though he/she was a young child!
    Again, open defiance, in statement and practice, is the only way to fight these draconian policies!!

    Comment by Donald Visconti | May 31, 2010 | Reply


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