Thursday, March 02, 2006

From our own correspondent

Actually from a former student. This is her story, with names changed to protect the guilty:

I started dating this boy (he doesn't deserve to be called a man) Jay a few months ago. Jay goes to school in (another state). Even though we didn't get to see each other often, we still made it work. We talked hours on the phone and we would spend every chance we could together.

A few weeks ago, Jay started getting very friendly messages on his Facebook account from his Italian Professor. At first, they were messages like, "Hope you are studying hard for the test tomorrow!!" but then they started getting a little friendlier. "I saw the way you looked at me in class today, I know what you were thinking." (And then she'd use a smiley emoticon. Eww.)

Jay would tell me about this, and even though I was a little jealous, I didn't think anything could really happen...come on...this lady was almost 50!!! So, Jan. 6th was Jay's 20th birthday. I had bought him a really nice gift. It was supposed to arrive on the 1st, but when Jay didn't call me to tell me it had arrived, I knew something was up. We never went more than a day without talking.

Monday rolls around, and I finally get a phone call from him. "I did something very, very bad," he says. I knew it. Right when he said that, I knew what it was.

"You fucked your professor, didn't you?"


This whore is not only his Italian professor, but she is also the head of (a special) program at his school. She has a son that is almost Jay's age!!!!!! That is SICK! If I was a bitch, I would probably report them, but I'm not. I just wanted you to ask your readers if they know of other sick professors out there like her or if someone has a similar story to mine...or maybe I am the only idiot that gets dumped by her boyfriend for a woman who is older than her own mother.

OK, readers. Your turn. Post in comments. Don't hold back. The college-age-appropriate g-friend vs. Professor/Mrs. Robinson.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 15 years older than most of my students and can't imagine wanting to date any of them. They are the age of my nephew.

I am friendlier to some and keep in contact with them -- but these are students who come to me for help on things like resumes and industry contacts. As for sleeping with them, let's just say I spent a long time searching for a good MAN and would not trade him in for a boy.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Ethan said...

"I didn't think anything could really happen...come on...this lady was almost 50!!!"

And as we all know, being 50 means being physically unable to have sex.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Kristy said...

Inappropriate sure, but neither SICK nor the end of the world. Horrible for the author though.

Then, I've never had a problem being attracted to various professors of any age.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Terminaldegree said...

Well, I don't have a older woman/younger guy story, but there is the more-typical older prof/younger woman tale that is all too common. See, there was a prof at Big State School who got involved with a student...and sent her e-mail messages about the event. Using his Big State School e-mail account.

And who turned him in? The grad student. Who'd previously had a crush on him, and who'd already had an affair with another prof.

He suddenly had a "medical disability" and is no longer teaching there....

11:51 PM  
Blogger Dr. Lisa said...

terminaldegree expresses my experience very well. There are way, way, more male professors that I know of who have ditched their wives for very young grad students or undergrads when the prof is in their 40s and 50s. I directly know five of them at the unis from where I got my degrees.

Myself...I teach pretty young students. I don't even look at them like that. Most are young enough to be my kid. I get a kick out of them, but I don't generally don't find myself attracted to them.

hell, I'm so tired all the time I'm seldom attracted to ANYBODY anymore. I'm old!!!

3:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am TWO years older than my students (I'm adjuncting while doing my PhD and am a very young PhD candidate) and I still can't imagine being in a relationship with any of them. The boundary between personal and professional is just too strong for me. I would feel like I'd done not only that student but all my students a disservice by stepping over it.

A little bit of erotic desire on the students' part isn't necessarily a terrible thing - authority often does have an inherently erotic element. But it needs to be channeled into a passion for the topic at hand, not taken advantage of through a professor-student sexual relationship, IMHO.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure there have been professors and students of mine that make me want to ask a suggestive, "How YOU doin'?", but I could never do that... I have that boundary thing going on. However, if the adults are consenting and the term is over... Don't know if that was the case here.. then who is to judge?

Please tell me when can folks acknowledge that other part of human existence--sexuality?

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is sexist to think that undergrad girls are usually considered “fair game” by most professors, whereas undergrad men are “off limits” to the younger professors.

The sad part is that many professors, when they were students slept with their professors, which, explains, in part how they got where they are. Some girl professors even brag about how seeing their professors naked helped their education.

This guy was just doing what he needed to do, and she was just exercising the professor’s privilege.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Age has nothing to with it. It's simply a breach of trust. Yes, she's bad for sleepgin with him if she knew he was in a committed relationship (if "dating ... a few months" counts as such), but HE is the a**hole.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

I don't get why Professor Robinson even WANTS to sleep with a 20-yr-old male. Yuck. Our daughters (21 and 18) can't find a single age-appropriate boyfriend in all of Texas. They find most guys their own age to be immature idiots. The oldest one has dated guys 32-34 years old -- but even those guys still have immaturity issues.

Tell your former student that SHE is not the idiot. Not by a long shot. But she might have a bit of a wait 'til the guys her age are mature and intelligent enough to deserve her.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous K. said...

In his book "writing relationships" - Boston College's Lad Tobin writes about the inevitability of sexual tension that arises in the composition classroom.

It's the power dynamic that gets students - I have found multiple professors attractive (I am closer in age to them as a grad. student) but would I find them attractive outside of the classroom - probably not.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had an instructor want to jump over the professional boundary but it was a no-go for me. Powerful or not, if the woman is interesting, I don’t care if she is the deli clerk at the grocery store or has the power to assign a grade and affect my college GPA. What has power over me is nice, compassionate and pretty, no conniving skanks.

10:32 AM  
Blogger theprofessor said...

My favorite prof-sleeps-with-girl-student story is from my undergrad years in the 1970s. An English prof, renowned for his randy ways (although he looked like Billygoat Gruff), bedded a comely sophomore from one of his lit classes. Deed done, he rolled off of her and said, "You're still getting a C."

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a slightly different twist, here is a university myth about the female undergraduate who undresses in her male prof's office.

Undergrad: "Oh Professor, I will do anything for an 'A.'"

Prof (oogling her): "Anything at all?"

Undergrad: "Yes!"

Prof: "Then go home and do your homework."

Darn, I should have used this for the 10 line contest earlier.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know a professor who - over the course of many courses - developed a friendly relationship with one of the grad students. after the classes were finished, they started dating. now they are married, have children, and are happy together.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think most everybody here is pretty much missing the point - regardless of whether it was professor/student relationship, an older woman and young man or older man and female student, the fact is that HE CHEATED.
Not worth getting upset about . . . the guy was an asshole, no matter who might have instigated the affair

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sleeping with students is one of the perks of job, just like a month off at Christmas, gym membership, and a faculty parking space....

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of girls are taught to just use their looks and sexuality to their advantage by their mothers. Men are, to a point. This is normal.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous run away! said...

All my life I've been at the mercy of intense crushes, and that didn't stop when I went to college, or grad school. I never got involved during a term, but a couple times directly after. (In undergrad with a former professor, in grad, with a former student - each relationship lasted about a year.) But I was always going mad with passion bottled up. No different than I'd always been, except for the knowledge that the feelings (or the danger that I might act on them) were inappropriate. I solved the problem by taking a job at a college that only admits my own gender, which coupled with my heterosexuality, worked great.

Somebody mentioned authority figures, and I don't think that played into it much for me. I just find anything that I'm extremely interested in a turn on to some degree, so someone involved in teaching it to me or learning it from me is in a likely position for an intense connection, which can end up taking on different aspects depending on other factors (their own interest/relationship in/with the subject, how we interact, etc.)

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still regret having slept with my then married college professor. He was pretty persuasive - made me feel really special and bright. But that's no excuse. I still wish I had never done it.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still regret having slept with my then married college professor. He was pretty persuasive - made me feel really special and bright. But that's no excuse. I still wish I had never done it.

7:08 PM  
Blogger indoloony said...

This sort of illicit affairs are way too common. How can you ever tell? It is sick and incredibly unethical and unprofessional. She was a friggin adult and just too horny for her own good..

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never had a problem with begin attracted to my profs until a friend of mine offered this advice about how to not be so nervous during a thesis defense meeting: "Picture them in their underwear." I did. Unfortunately, I pictured "Dr. X" in really hot underwear and instantly developed a crush on her that haunts me to this day, 17 years later!

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sick? Not really. Who said af 50 you stopped having desires? And as for college, we can assume they are all consenting adults over the legal age. Were it high school, and the boy was 13 and the woman 50 (or viceversa on age and genders), absolutely denounce, them, but in college, hey, they are adults. Having said that, the fact she took advantage of her position is definitely wrong, and more importantly, that he cheated on what sounds like a decent girl. I guess what I am saying is what is despicable is the deceit. Lord knows there are plenty of older and younger people getting together all the time, but like everything, there are appropriate times, and not so appropriate.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Denise said...

What's sick is not that the woman is 50, or even that she is 30 years older than this boy. What is sick is that she seduced (and/or accepted the advances of) a student, who was 1) already in a relationship (Facebook enourages you put your relationship status!), and 2) likely still her student, based on the sample messages given by the (now ex, I hope) girlfriend. Moreover, the guy who is also at fault here, chose of his own free will to sleep with this professor on/near his birthday, when his girlfriend had just sent him a special expression of her love for him.

There is a line we all need to draw between professional and romantic conduct. I get the strong feeling that this is not just a matter between consenting adults, but a breach of proper conduct between giver and receiver of grades. At my university that requires 1) reporting the relationship to the department head, and 2) assignment of another individual to grade said student's work. On top of that Jay betrayed his girlfriend's trust that he was willing to control himself around other women for her sake. If something similar happened to me, I would definitely react in a "He did what? With HER?! How sick!" kind of way. I agree that the kid doesn't have the maturity to be a good boyfriend for this young woman, especially if he's willing to throw it all away on a one-night stand with a prof. (I can't imagine a relationship begun under those circumstances would last.)

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Learned Hand said...

My last semester in college, after the last day of class but before final grades had been turned in, a group of students accompanied our associate professor to a campus bar. While there we met another associate professor, a friend of our professor, and some of his students. The friend, Professor B, was on the verge of his birthday.

Apparently some of the strippers who claim to be students are telling the truth, because one of Professor B’s students was a dancer at a well known strip club in town. While we were there, she was animatedly making plans for a “celebration” of Professor B’s birthday involving a private dance performed by her and two of her friends from the club.

It was not clear at all whether she was expecting any special favors from Professor B in exchange for this encounter. To some extent it had the feel that she had enjoyed Professor B’s professional skills and she wanted to share some of her own.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Hillary said...

I have my doubts and maybe you can communicate this to that poor girl.

Why would her boyfriend tell her about a teacher flirting with him? Seems like a less severe way of getting out of a long-distance relationship by admitting to sleeping with an Italian 50-yr old professor. That would be so much easier that admitting to sleeping with a girl around his age eh? The girl's mad but not extremely upset, it's an easy way out - sounds like a game plan.

Just a thought.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous littlem said...

All boundary issues aside between professor and student (sacrosanct IMHO until post-term or whenever they are no longer professor and student), and "boundary" issues aside between the two students purportedly in relationship (just from her syntax and language, I could fill a couple books) -

"I think it is sexist to think that undergrad girls are usually considered “fair game” by most professors, whereas undergrad men are “off limits” to the younger professors."

Nail. Hammer. Bang.

1:52 PM  
Blogger milowent said...

So, the where's installment 2 where this girl sleeps with Italian professor's son? Er, wrong website, sorry.

Kidding aside, the only thing sick is how the guy led this girl on. he should have broke it off if that's what he wanted to do. i highly doubts he thinks this fling was "very, very bad."

No, it's on his conquest list for life.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Spirophita said...

I agree with some of the comments posted that the barriers you have (as a responsible) professor or instructor really prevent you from looking at students in a romantic way. When I was teaching, I was a Master's student who taught students that were routinely the same age or older than me. And even though there were some attractive guys (a couple of my students hooked up with friends of mine), I had to make a conscious effort NEVER to make the situation seem less than professional.

And I seriously don't understand why this kind-of thing happens at school or in work situations. Do people have such little will-power that they can't help themselves? Seriously, couldn't this guy find someone else to sleep with? Regardless, it's not about the age, or even about nepotism (though we don't know if he received a higher grade or anything). What it is about is respecting a "working relationship."

And the bastard cheated. 'Nuff said. All of us are attracted to inappropriate people, but most of us don't act on every whim. This is what fantasies are for!

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I don't think the situation is "sick." Consenting adults and all that. I do think that the guy was out of line in cheating on his girlfriend, and the professor was out of line in getting into a relationship with someone who was currently her student.

As to the issue of prof/student attractions, hmmm.... while I was a graduate assistant (about 8 years older than most of my students), I did develop crushes on the occasional male student. One even seemed to return the crush, and came to my office often just to chat. He was an intelligent, sweet, mature fellow, and we enjoyed talking together, but that was it--we just talked, and though the attraction seemed like an undercurrent, I held my normally flirtatious tendencies in check--and kept the office door open.

In other words, just being in the "teacher" role didn't prevent me from developing crushes. But knowing the inappropriateness of hooking up with a student of any age did keep me in line.

Years later, I met my husband, who, as it turns out, is young enough to have been one of my students, and who attended the university while I was teaching there. He hadn't been in any of my classes, however. What would have happened if he had been? We'll never know--except that it would have happened after the semester was over.


4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gross. nuff said

7:35 PM  
Blogger Morgaine said...

Men reach their sexual peak in their late teens. Women reach theirs in their late 30s. I can't believe Nature didn't intend those two forces to interact.

Now you know why I'm not teaching. I know myself too well.

4:10 AM  
Anonymous highschoolkid007 said...

She mentioned the 50 thing because you're supposed to be attracted to young, soft, supple, firm-breasted... err girls. ^_^; Not old ones with wrinkles and sags, but this could have been one of those 50 year olds who look wonderful. Whatever the case, this girl was JEALOUS. Can you imagine being a young girl and your boyfriend picks an old woman over you? I think that's why she was so shocked by the age factor.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to get to a link but the comment box won't let me put in a link. Try typing in "i slept with my prof" and see what two links pop up.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(typing it into google that is...)

5:08 PM  
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