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America's college campuses may have no hardier cast of cliche characters than the ones who populate the faculty-student romance: mid-life professors, long-suffering faculty wives and a perennial crop of sweet young things. This month, the faculty of the University of Virginia will consider what may be the nation's strictest code barring sexual relations between professors and students of either sex -- even consensual relations, and even between professors and students they do not teach or supervise.Similar policies, though less sweeping, have been enacted at dozens of campuses, large and small, and are being considered at many more.
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Jefferson's university intend to criminalize Cupid? " And a column in The Washington Post, by Jonathan Yardley, chided the university for its "attempt to create a more perfect universe through rules and regulations governing thought, speech and action." Many have compared the amorous-relations policies to earlier attempts on campus to regulate discriminatory words between students, or "hate speech." The speech codes were challenged on the grounds that they violated the constitutional right to free speech. Similarly, Donna Shavlik, an official at the American Council on Education in Washington, said she welcomed the codes even though she doubted they would work.
The sexual codes might impinge on the rights of privacy or free association, experts say, although there have been no court cases to date, according to several education associations. "There has to be more conversation about what it means to be in a relationship where people can take advantage of each other," Ms. "So it's very healthy that universities are raising these questions." Photos: "Our product is young people, and we have to deal in an ethical way with their education and be role models," said Sol Gittleman, the provost at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. Gittleman drafted the university's new policy restricting sexual relations between professors and their students.; Janice Whitcomb, a senior at Boston University, found herself the target of unwanted advances from a teaching assistant.
On the other side are those who say that behavior once condoned with a wink and a nod is really an abuse of power incompatible with the educational mission.
In the middle are those who agree that such behavior may often be deplorable, but not always, and those who may even know, or be part, of a student-faculty romance that turned into a successful marriage. " asked Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where the faculty resisted a ban on the ground that it would be legislating morality.