Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

U of Hawaii student paper supports UH student/prof sex ban

ln its editorial supporting prohibitions of student professor intimate relationships, the student newspaper KALEO notes that many universities have enacted such bans and such is part of a nationwide trend.  If trendiness is the issue then KALEO is right on target. But trendiness should have no relevance in regards to taking away the rights of individuals to date whomever they wish to date or mate.  Isn’t this the issue that in essence the Supreme Court just voted on in regards to same sex marriage?

But Kaleo does not find student professor romantic relationships “suitable” just as opponents of homosexual relationships did not find said relationships suitable.  The Kaleo editorial goes on to cite examples of professors engaging in sexually coercive and humiliating tactics in regards to their students. Of course, such should not be invoked in the prohibiting of all student professor relationships, just as rape should not be invoked to prohibit all sexual relationships.  To cite the few in order to prohibit the many should be considered absurd on its face.

And then the editorial states that by “being proactive, Mānoa can save itself from the embarrassment and costly lawsuits that come with cases like those.”  If embarrassment is the key issue here, I would suggest that UH administrators find a job elsewhere, universities should be the last place where policies are based on dealing with feelings of embarrassment.  And as far as costly lawsuits are concerned, I know of no successful lawsuit taken against a university which did not ban consensual student professor relationships.

But there is more, the editorial writers are worried about the peace of mind of young students and third parties who are worried about these consensual relationships. As the writers state:

“Prevention of amorous relationships also protects third parties. Instead of worrying over someone else having unfair advantage or disadvantage, people neutral to a relationship can have a peace of mind because their performance is evaluated fairly and on an equal footing with everyone else’s.”

The aforementioned represents other worldly thinking, it is utterly absurd to argue that this one ban would  really lead to everyone believing that everyone in academia is on equal footing.  Many students receiving poor grades will continue to believe that the grading had nothing to do with their performance but rather with the myriad prejudices of  the professor.

The editorial does note some complicating circumstances regarding such bans, but makes short shrift of them when it notes- “All the same, times have changed and morals have moved on. To keep current, we need to move with them.”

Of course, keeping current is more of a polite term for keeping trendy. And keeping trendy or current ultimately is used as a cover to avoid dealing with the systematic invasion of the private sexual lives of both students and professors at UH.

July 18, 2015 - Posted by | consensual relationships, student professor dating, University of Hawaii |


  1. Great reply once again, Dankprofessor! “Trendiness” is questionable, where individual rights are concerned. It sure was “trendy”, to have slaves and treat blacks as 2nd Class citizens, in the South, before, and during the Civil War. It was also “trendy”, very recently, for fraternities and sororities to haze pledges. I believe this still goes on, but has been greatly modified. Thus, “trendiness” is a poor excuse for supporting “dating prohibitions”, between 2 adults. Rights of privacy and free association should not be trampled on!
    I recently posted on another website, on the possibility of a matter like this reaching the Supreme Court. I regret to say that both the liberal and conservative justices might vote in support of the bans. The liberals would back the notion that people (specifically women) need to be protected from themselves. They would see justification in paternalism.The conservatives just may use the common law principle of “Employment at Will”. That holds that anyone is free to leave, if they don’t like a particular “rule” being imposed on them. The trouble with this is that the people who own the institution/business set the rules. They have all the power, and, without legal remedies, could infringe on any rights that the employees are entitled to, simply because they sign the pay checks! If we grant one company/institution the “right” to do this, we must grant all of them the same!
    Oh, I thank Mr. Hunt, the plaintiff in Commonwealth of Mass. vs. Hunt, in that 1840 Supreme Court Case! It ruled Mr. Hunt (first name unknown) was NOT guilty of “criminal conspiracy” when he organized his fellow workers into a union. I hope workers and students rights will prevail, before any court, up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Comment by Donald Visconti | July 18, 2015 | Reply

  2. CORRECTION: Mr. Hunt was the DEFENDANT, when the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, in 1940.

    Comment by Donald Visconti | July 18, 2015 | Reply

  3. ANOTHER CORRECTION: Of course, it was 1840, not 1940!

    Comment by Donald Visconti | July 19, 2015 | Reply

    Mr. John Hunt won his case before the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court, in March, 1842. Although this wasn’t a U.S. Supreme Court decision, it still set a precedent, regarding workers’ rights to organize, provided they did so by lawful means.

    Comment by Donald Visconti | August 5, 2015 | Reply

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