You see it in movies and television shows all the time, the professor, or their assistant (TA), walks into class and the students confuse them for another student. Then everyone looks up, slack-jawed, when the professor or TA introduces themselves to the class. In popular culture, this is usually after a student has engaged in inappropriate behavior with the professor without knowing they would be instructed by them.
So, what happens if you have an inappropriate sexual interaction with a professor or a TA before you know what their position is? Will they be fired? Will you be kicked out of school?
Why Inappropriate Teacher-Student Relations Are so Controversial
When you turn 18, you may think that you can have intimate relationships with whomever you want. That's what society has been telling you since you started dating, right? Well, the reality is that teacher (or TA)-student relationships are taboo for a good reason. The foundation of any university's educational mission is the integrity of the teacher-student relationship.
There is an imbalance of power – TAs and professors have the power to control an aspect of your future. This puts you in a vulnerable place and can influence your behavior in ways you may not normally behave. Relationships like these put the educational integrity of the university in jeopardy and can expose the university to liability.
Disciplinary Action for Teacher-Student Relationships
Most schools across the country have sanctions in place if a professor or TA has an inappropriate relationship with a student. At Ivy League schools like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, professors can be put on probation or even dismissed from their positions if they are caught in a relationship with a student. Other schools have less strict approaches to the incidents, but the one thing that all schools have in common is viewing these types of relationships as inappropriate. Teaching - real teaching - cannot happen if a professor is having an intimate relationship with his or her students.
Whether a student can be punished for such actions is dependent on the particular facts. While professors and TAs can be brought up for disciplinary action or Title IX hearings, there is no clear answer for what could happen to a student. The best way to protect yourself from any potential issues is to stop the relationship and notify the Title IX Coordinator at your school. They will be able to walk you through your options and ensure the relationship does not continue further.
How A Title IX Defense Team Can Help
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Student Defense Team have spent years helping students in similar situations. Attorney Lento and his team understand how important your education is to you. Do not put it in jeopardy by engaging in a relationship with your professor or TA when it is clearly outlined at your school that you cannot. But if you are brought up for disciplinary action, Attorney Lento can help. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation or visit us online.