UC Santa Cruz Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office

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Especially for Graduate Students

What About Dating your Professor?

The best time to date your professor, if at all, is after you have graduated from school. While it is true that some students have been able to date their professors without any problems, this is the exception rather than the rule.

Some of the problems inherent in dating your professor are:

  • When he/she has so much power over your grade(s) (and hence your future), it is difficult to have a relationship of equals;
  • If your relationship is known to other people and your grades are excellent, some students and/or faculty may question the validity of your grades and find it hard to take you seriously as a student;
  • If your relationship is secret people could still find out about it and again question the validity of your grades. Because you have a personal relationship which is likely to influence your professor’s objectivity, you, yourself may be unsure of your true academic performance which can lead to self-doubt;
  • If the relationship ends badly with a lot of hard feelings on both sides, depending on his/her position:
    • he/she could sabotage your grade, or at least leave you wondering if his/her personal feelings influenced the grade;
    • he/she could talk about you to other teachers and negatively influence how they perceive you;
    • if he/she is the only one teaching any courses that you must take, it will be very awkward being in those classes. It will be difficult to ensure that his/her personal feelings wouldn’t affect his/her behavior toward you in class or at grading time;
    • if he/she teaches in your major department, you might feel very uncomfortable not only with him/her but with others in the department as well. Indeed, some women go out of their way to avoid both a professor who is an ex-boyfriend and his/her department in general, and end up feeling alienated by the whole experience;
    • it would be extremely difficult to use him/her as a reference for graduate school or for employment;
  • Even if the relationship ends amicably it would be difficult to know for sure if your grade was influenced by the professor’s personal feelings, and it might still be awkward to be in any of his/her classes in the future.
  • The UCSC Academic Senate’s Resolution On Romantic Relationships states that even a single advance to a student by an academic appointee, whether or not the advance is welcomed, invited, or rebuffed, must be regarded by the academic community as a serious breach of professional ethics and proper standards of professional behavior.


Contact Rita Walker , Title IX Officer: 105 Kerr Hall . email: rew@ucsc.edu . phone 831.459.2462 * 831.459.4825