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There’s also the fact that your professor or TA controls your grades, Kleinhans points out.
If the student decides she ever wants to end the relationship, the professor or TA could seek out revenge by giving her a low grade in his or her class.
” But even a TA who is just a few years older than a collegiette could feel that he has power over her because he’s her teacher, and that power dynamic is unhealthy in any relationship.
“Any time there is a significant discrepancy of power between partners, there is one person taking advantage of the other,” says Orlov.
“He was nice to me even though I think he knew I was flirting.
I think he liked the attention.” Eventually, the TA asked her if she would write a recommendation letter for an award he was applying to, and if she wanted to be his assistant over the summer for his research.
When Avery* took a sociology class her freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill, she was interested in the subject matter—but she found herself way more interested in the cute TA who taught it.
Some student/professor relationships even end up in marriage, such as John Nash’s.
They are “taking advantage of young women with less power, life experience, and ability to set clear and healthy boundaries.” Julie Kleinhans, a radio show host and life coach for teens and young adults, says that the feeling of being dominant to a student can be a reason why professors and TAs have relationships with students.
“Every situation is different, but for a lot of men, it might be that sense of control: having certain power over the younger female, having a sense of, ‘if I have this relationship with you, then I can determine your grades,’” she says.
What are the consequences of student/TA or student/professor relationships?
You might be thinking: “Well, my TA is only a grad student—that’s not so inappropriate, is it?