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Should universities ban students and faculty from having sex?

Ian Brimacombe Ian Brimacombe | 09:30 UK time, Thursday, 8 April 2010

Hi, Ian here from World Update.

Yale University made headlines this week when a strict policy banning faculty members from having romantic relationships with undergraduate students came to light.The policy has been incorporated into an updated faculty handbook after more than a quarter century of debate at Yale.
What's interesting about this is just how far Yale is going. Other universities have banned teachers from sleeping with their students. But Yale is saying all teacher-student sex is off limits - even if they never share a classroom.

Deputy Provost, Charles Long, who has been trying to enforce the ban for 27 years, says,

"I think we have a responsibility to protect students from behaviour that is damaging to them and to the objectives for their being here."

But Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory says the policy goes too far. She says,

"...forbidding relationships between students and faculty members who don't even have a significant academic relationship with one another? That seems awfully paternalistic. We are talking about legal adults, remember. I fail to see how it's any of the university's business unless the relationship -- "damaging" or not -- has a direct impact on a student's academic life."

But other bloggers and commentators think the ban is a good idea.

Lizzie Skurnick, of Politics Daily, says,

"There is a very good reason universities should ban student-teacher relationships. It's to prevent their faculty from being unbearably tacky..."

So what do you think? Should adult undergraduate students be able to choose who they have a relationship with, or do you agree that universities should be stepping in to prevent students and faculty from hooking up? Does it matter if they share a classroom or not? We'll be debating the issue on World Update on Monday.
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