Certainly Chris wouldn't provide any benefits to Pat, like lenient grading.So, as long as there's no benefit, there is no harmful conflict of interest. It's not acceptable to share feelings during the semester, because it contaminates the learning environment—which is tough enough as it is!Today, let's explore an issue that always generates lively discussion in ethics courses: Can college instructors date their students?Consider this basic case outline: Chris is teaching a college psychology course.I also knew my stepmother who had been one of my father's students.Personally, I avoided it as a student - I feel that if its someone I should OBEY then I should not DATE such a being: that runs counter to Christian marriage vows of obedience but really.But let's say your institution doesn't have such rules, or they are vague, and you want to create a policy. ) Dimensions That Could Alter Your Stance Let's play some "Testing the Limits" and see what facts of the case would have to change for your ethical stance to change. : What if the class was a 500-student section of intro psych, Pat was not a psychology major, Chris was leaving the teaching profession to become a ski instructor, and there was no possibility of Chris ever having to write a letter of recommendation for Pat? ------------------------------------------- I (as a senior in my undergrad) had a crush on one of my Psych professors.
Would it have been appropriate for me to say anything to him?
What ethical and practical issues do you need to consider? Ethical Stances I'll list some arguments that I've heard over the years; see what you think, and which include some of your thoughts as you read the case.
This is not a comprehensive list of ethical stances or justifications—just enough to get you started.
One of the students, Pat, is very attractive to Chris. Can Chris wait until after the semester and then ask Pat out?
If Pat initiates and expresses social or romantic interest in Chris during the semester can Chris reciprocate the expression of interest?