“People tend to date people they meet in their everyday surroundings.College campuses are a relatively safe place to date and mate." Dank, who is married to a former student, is a defender of the right of faculty members to have relationships with students.Bustamante, who until a few days before Benoit's death was a professor in the department in which Benoit was enrolled.Police found Bustamante dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound after an extended standoff with law enforcement officers.“Nor does there appear to be any potential that he or she would enroll in one of your classes or need or seek recommendations or professional mentoring from you in the future.However, if you do enter into a personal relationship with this individual, you should both be careful to ensure that you do not later assume a position of authority as defined in this policy.” The American Association of University Professors doesn’t rule out student-professor relationships, but says that professors are “expected to be aware of their professional responsibilities and to avoid apparent or actual conflict of interest, favoritism or bias.” And when a sexual relationship exists, “effective steps should be taken to ensure unbiased evaluation or supervision of the student.” Still, AAUP’s statement on Consensual Relations between Faculty and Students discourages such relationships, saying that “Sexual relations between students and faculty members with whom they also have an academic or evaluative relationship are fraught with the potential for exploitation. Even when both parties initially have consented, the development of a sexual relationship renders both the faculty member and the institution vulnerable to possible later allegations of sexual harassment in light of the significant power differential that exists between faculty members and students.” Some institutions have changed their student-professor relationship policies following situations warned of in the AAUP policy.
But local news coverage has been dominated by questions about the relationship between the student, Kathryn Benoit, and the man suspected of killing her, Ernesto A.
"The statistics haven't changed since we started studying this," she says.
Relationships between faculty members and students used to be fairly common.
But she said it doesn’t create loopholes so much as leave room for a few exceptional cases in which a student-professor relationship would not exploit the inherent power structure between a professor and a student.
Take, for example, the situation described in the interim policy’s frequently asked question section, in a which a professor in the College of Humanities and Sciences meets a medical student at a social event and wants to pursue a relationship.