Teacher’s pet: diving into teacher-student relationships


Alex Hanks

If you’ve ever seen the cliché MTV shows about high school and college life, odds are you have seen depictions of teacher-student relationships. Society has created a culture that fantasizes these relationships and some of you reading this may have even had a teacher you wanted to be with, physically or romantically.

In May of 2018, President Eighmy issued a statement regarding the policy for consensual professor and student relationships.
“The policy is fundamental to avoiding any real or perceived conflicts of interest, power differentials and potential emotional distress for all those involved. It also reinforces our zero-tolerance approach to sexual misconduct of any kind,” Eighmy said.

While UTSA has a policy denouncing and prohibiting these types of relationships, it doesn’t mean these relationships don’t occur. Some campuses are much more lenient and open to these relationships. Whether a relationship with a professor is allowed or not, you can’t deny that these relationships are just plain weird.

In my opinion, the power dynamic between a professor who has more professional and life experience than a student can result in control and manipulation. It allows the professor to be in control because “they know more than you do.” They can use their life experience as a tool to put the student into submission, making them feel inferior and dependent on them. This unbalanced power dynamic can possibly lead to continuous patterns of mental manipulation and abuse.

Also, consider the large and inevitable age difference between the two individuals. Why would a professor want someone who is most likely a decade or more younger? The two parties are bound to have vastly different interests. While you may want to be at the second leg of the Travis Scott tour, your professor/lover may want to stay in and watch documentaries. (Nothing wrong with documentaries, just an analogy.) The professor and student are on two completely different pages.

As college students, most of us are in stressful environments, living in a constant cesspool of anxiety, waking up to something new to stress about. We live in a state of chaos, and it is not unusual for us to seek a sense of security and stability. Yet, nobody should be seeking this stability from their professors, period. An emotional relationship can potentially be just as destructive as a physical one.

Yet even a “no strings attached” relationship has an abundance of strings attached. The “thrill of getting caught” isn’t necessarily a thrill when the odds of you not getting caught are slim. There are strings attached when you inevitably brag to your friends about hooking up with a professor. Whether it is a real relationship, or a fling, the ramifications and the magnitude of the consequences outweighs the “thrill” by a mile.

With Instagram and Twitter becoming an extension of ourselves, we as students are more accessible than ever. If you’re scrolling through the gram and get a notification that’s a message from your professor, simply ignore it. Absolutely nothing good can come of it. While consent is always key, even a consensual relationship with a professor can lead to unneeded hardship. Worry about graduating, worry about your career, worry about literally anything but the ramifications of what will happen when you inevitably get caught dating your professor.