Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Education, Higher;


What are the ethics behind intimate student-faculty relationships in higher education? Should such relationships be allowed? Can they be legally controlled? Should there be a penalty for faculty and students who engage in these relationships? Consenting romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty and student, or between student services professional and student, although usually not expressly forbidden, are generally deemed unwise (Cahn, 1986). According to Svinicki (1994), codes of ethics for most professional associations forbid "professional-client" sexual relationships. In an educational institution, the professor-student and student affairs professional-student relationships are thus such "professional-client" relationships. The respect and trust accorded a professor by a student, as well as the power exercised by the professor over the student in giving praise or blame, grades, recommendations for further study or future employment, etc., can greatly diminish the student's actual freedom of choice in such relationships (Svinicki, 1994). Consequently, it is incumbent upon those with authority to make certain students not be exploited.

Year of Submission

January 1999

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Larry Keig

Second Advisor

Carolyn R. Bair


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Date Original


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