When young people go off to college, they enter a world with many new freedoms. From making their own schedules to creating new relationships, many facets of the process lead to learning how to become a responsible adult. While a newfound landscape may promote the notion to explore intimate relationships, there are a few that could create problems down the road.
University employees aren't limited to only faculty and administration. Sometimes, students are employees of the school and are bound to agreements similar to staff, and it could be risky to engage in a consensual relationship with them.
Two Common Types of Student Employees
Teacher's assistants (TAs) are typically graduate students that handle many of the same tasks that professors do, including teaching classes, proctoring exams, working directly with students, and grading papers and projects.
Some schools don't maintain an official policy on TA-student relationships, but many do. Real or perceived favoritism is not conducive to education, and schools will investigate allegations. Some sexual misconduct issues detailed in the school's student handbook or code of conduct shows what could happen when romantic relationships and transcripts are mixed together.
Resident advisors (RAs)—also referred to as resident assistants—are college-aged mentors, usually upper-division students, which help create a safe and amicable environment for students living in dorms or other housing. They can be an invaluable resource to first-year students making the transition to living on their own, and hold many responsibilities, including facilitating dorm activities, resolving conflicts between roommates, and ensuring that residents follow campus rules.
Because RAs are in positions of authority, most schools have relationship restrictions on RAs dating students if they are located on their floor or in the same building. If an inappropriate relationship is suspected, the RA may face an inquiry by the school's resident director or officials within its Division of Student Affairs.
Get Help if You Face Accusations
While college and universities—both public and private—have varying regulations regarding relationships between TAs and RAs and the students they oversee, if you are facing an accusation or investigation into your relationship, it is best to consult an attorney-advisor promptly.
If a TA or an RA is suspected of having an inappropriate relationship with an off-limits student, their compensation and financial aid packages are at risk. Not only that, a finding of responsibility could mean suspension or expulsion, delaying or derailing their degree completion and future employment prospects.
Contacting an attorney-advisor like Joseph D. Lento will benefit those navigating these scenarios. He is an attorney with experience and empathy who has dedicated himself to ensuring students' rights are protected. Reach out at 888-535-3686 and seek assistance with the Lento Law Firm.