Rules against professors dating students
Further, even if one thinks Honderich acted wrongly by engaging in those relations, whether and how he should be blamed or otherwise held responsible for them today is another matter.(To be clear, it’s not that I’m endorsing relativism here; I am, however, saying that judgments about how to react to these kinds of cases are complicated by uncertainty and social and temporal distance.) I would add that Honderich’s personal life was widely discussed in reviews following the book’s publication, and we needn’t rehash all of that here.
Something was said to Richard [Wollheim, then chair of the department] of this, and he found her another tutor. It preserved me from an undergraduate or two with the invigorating idea of an extra-curricular connection with their tutor.They were not seduced, or hardly more seduced than me.To use a term not then current, there was no harassment worth the name.Many universities now have policies that prohibit such relationships (or, in cases in which the lines of institutional authority are less clear, policies that require disclosure of the relationship to the relevant administrators).On the other side of the debate over blanket bans are the goods of romantic or sexual relationships and sexual liberty.For example, interestingly, he claims that such bans would make the aforementioned conflicts of interest harder to detect and avoid.
He writes: Supporters of relationship bans will say that such relationships often create conflicts of interest, such as cases where a student is involved with his or her supervisor.
So I would have said in setting out to defend myself.
In fact, in these buoyant times, I did not reflect a lot on my actions and my moral standing, or suffer guilt, partly because of the optimistic feeling that if I worked at a defence, a confident one might be constructed. (pp.128-29) This passage and related ones were brought to my attention by Joshua Habgood-Coote (Bristol), who discussed them on Twitter.
So a context in which such attempts are not discouraged is one which may lead to more sexual harassment (this sounds plausible but is ultimately an empirical question so if you know of work on this feel free to share it).
If that is so, it should be taken into account in reasoning about whether to have such policies.
But it was not easy to make clear sense of the charge.