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Thoughts? I think it’s a good idea, but I have had SO MANY arguments with some friends from grad school about this issue. Part of it is because a woman I went to grad school got a faculty position right out of grad school, and within a couple years started dating a grad student in her department. They’re now married (and now she’s tenured and he’s finished his PhD). Some mutual friends have kept using the argument that it was okay in their situation (because they think the power dynamics were different because she was female faculty, and he was older than her and had been in the grad program before she got there), therefore it’s okay for grad students-faculty to date as long as the faculty isn’t supervising the graduate student.


I think there’s too much potential for either nepotistic or exploitative power dynamics to happen, and think that if you REALLY want to date... you can wait until you are no longer in that power imbalance. I also think that, as a female assistant professor, it was an incredibly risky move—she’s lucky that she didn’t face any negative repercussions, but it could have very easily jeopardized her career.

I don’t know what to think about the banning all faculty-grad student relationships. I definitely agree that it shouldn’t be allowed within departments, but I do see the point that professors in one discipline are unlikely to wield power over students in a separate discipline. But I can see how this might vary based on the size of the university and whether there is any interdisciplinary collaboration between departments.

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