Graduate school dating becoming bitter about dating

Everything’s easier if it’s just done for the lolz. Even in an age when the feminists apparently control everything, it seems that the practice of older (usually male) scholars sleeping with much younger (usually female) graduate students is alive and …Without support from fellow students (and, often, dismissed by the other professors in the department), many of these once-promising grad students wind up out of the discipline entirely.

graduate school dating-2

It happens because in many academic disciplines—such as, of course, philosophy, which already enjoys a reputation for misconduct—there is a tendency for beginning scholars to have “philosophical idols,” as explained to me by Meena Krishnamurthy, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba.

(Just count the times this author uses the word “hero.”) Thus, the master/protégé dynamic cements power differentials that are simply too pronounced to create a healthy relationship, Not to mention the fact that grad-student/faculty relationships literally ruin careers: When a student and faculty member start sleeping together, rarely is it a well-kept secret; often, the student becomes a departmental pariah.

Off-site visits, such as the one Carla Fehr engineered?

As satisfying as it was to see CU–Boulder duly spanked, that resulted in an infuriating amount of rank-closing and defensiveness.

“It can encourage straight male faculty to favor supervising male students,” explains Eric Wiland, an associate professor of philosophy (and my husband’s colleague) at the University of Missouri–St. This, he explains, is “to avoid problems, rumors, and other foul-ups, sometimes self-inflicted.” He gives the dispiriting example of a female grad student he knows at another school, who now gets “ professional attention, because the male faculty in her department are now scared to socialize with her in the way they socialize with their male students, and in the way they used to socialize with her.” And most upsettingly, Wiland says, “this even extends to semi-social things, like informal workshops and lab meetings.” So what, if anything, can be done?

Institutional policies that forbid such relationships? Many universities have these already, and they rarely seem to matter.

For despite the handful of happy families that result from professor/grad student couplings, the practice has an overwhelmingly deleterious effect on the academic community.

It’s not just a matter of two consenting adults’ hearts wanting what they want.

But I also know moping about them won’t change anything. For anyone that isn’t clear on this, grad school isn’t particularly friendly to dating.

(At least in science/engineering/mathematics grad school, which is the assumption I have for the entire post.) There are so many reasons for this that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Correspondingly, advisees of famous student-seducers—male or female, straight or LGBT, platonically relationshipped or otherwise—can easily be tainted for their entire careers.

Tags: , ,