The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

90° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    School of love

    The average age difference between spouses in the United States is 3.5 years, according to the U.S. Census, with the male being significantly older than the female.

    But this hasn’t stopped students from daydreaming about their teachers from time to time, no matter the age gap.

    The UA’s policy on teachers dating students is expressed in its Policy for Management of Personal Conflicts of Interest for The University of Arizona. The policy not only explains what the rules and conditions are for students dating teachers on campus, but also what to do if spouses are working in the same department at the university and even has information regarding roommate relationships.  

    “”Essentially it expresses the view that is best not to engage in personal relationships when you have a supervising role over someone else,”” said Mary Beth Tucker, director of the Office of Institutional Equity. “”However it acknowledges that this sometimes occurs.””

    Though there is no specific rule that prohibits teachers from dating students over the age of 18, the policy regards it as being too unprofessional. In most cases, the student will be removed from their classroom and placed in a different section of the course.

    “”There is an inherent conflict of interest in terms of grading that student and other students being upset about potential favoritism,”” said Tucker. “”For example, if I am teaching a class with a lot of sections and units such as Spanish it would be easy for the student to transfer into a different course.””

    In some outstanding cases where an accommodation cannot be reached, the end result could be the termination of the teacher.

    “”I couldn’t think of an example where conflict cannot be resolved in one way or another,”” Tucker said. “”I think it is very unlikely.””

    But for some students, the notion of dating a teaching assistant seems more reasonable because the age gap tends to be smaller.

    One UA student recalled how a realtionship with a teaching assistant began after he had finished the course an assistant was instructing.

    “”I couldn’t see myself really persuing anyone else. I was so smitten with her,”” said the source. “”So I waited ‘till the end of the semester and asked if she wanted toi go out.””

    He went on to say that, though he was unaware of the UA’s policy on students dating instructiors, he felt, ethically, it was inappropriate to date the assistant while being a student in her class.

    “”It’s completely unprofessional,”” said the source. “”There needs not only be a hierarchy in the classroom, but a professional, respectable relationship from the teacher to the student.””

    The UA’s policy only pertains if a student is involved with an instructor and results in a direct conflict of interest, such as being a member of their classroom or department. The university cannot restrict a relationship if it does not affect both parties’ careers at the institution.  

    “”In that respect, it is very narrow and really only focused on situations where there is a direct relationship between the two,”” said Tucker.

    Though it is possible for a student to date a teacher, some undergraduates feel that this too much of a strain on their academic career.  

    “”It should be a professional work environment and seems too much like a conflict of interest,”” said Diana Rosales, a religious studies junior. “”I’m sure it happens, but I have never really heard about it here. I’ve only seen it on television.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search