Argumentative Essay on Should Professors be Allowed to Flirt with Students

Argumentative Essay on Should Professors be Allowed to Flirt with Students


According to the four-decades old study by Rowland et al. (1982), in the realm of higher education, flirtation between the students and faculty is not uncommon. The recent study by Wade (2018) indicates that that the dynamics between educators and students are intricate, rooted in trust, respect, and a shared commitment to learning.  In this regard, the question of whether professors should engage in flirtatious interactions with their students is a topic of ongoing debate in academic circles.

Argumentative Essay Thesis Statement: this argumentative essay aims to provide a detailed analysis of the arguments surrounding this issue, considering both its proponents and opponents.

Arguments Supporting the Practice

According to Wade (2018), proponents of professors engaging in flirtatious behavior with students assert that adults have the autonomy to participate in consensual relationships, provided they do so without any hint of coercion or manipulation. They argue that it would be unjust to suppress natural human emotions like love and attraction, as long as these sentiments do not disrupt the educational process. Moreover, those in favor of the student-faculty romantic relationships stress that students are adults capable of making informed decisions about their personal lives and should be allowed to consent to romantic involvement.

Argument FOR: Enhancing the Educational Environment

Many individuals contend that positive interactions, including elements of flirtation, can contribute to a more open and engaging learning atmosphere. When there is a sense of comfort and mutual respect between professors and students, it can lead to increased student engagement, improved communication, and more favorable educational outcomes. A light-hearted comment or gesture, when delivered with respect and without pressure, can contribute to a more relaxed classroom ambiance.

Arguments Against the Practice

Interestingly, Wade (2018) also notes that those opposing professors flirting with students draw attention to the inherent power imbalance in the professor-student relationship. Professors hold authority and are responsible for assessing students’ academic progress. Engaging in flirtation can blur the boundaries between the professional and personal domains, potentially resulting in favoritism, unequal treatment, or even harassment. In such scenarios, students may feel obligated to reciprocate flirtatious advances due to concerns about academic repercussions.

Argument 1: Ethical Considerations

The ethical dimension of professors engaging in flirtatious behavior with students is of utmost significance. Educational institutions must prioritize the well-being of students, and the potential for emotional harm, manipulation, or exploitation cannot be overlooked. Professors have a responsibility to safeguard their students and uphold professional boundaries.

Argument 2: Institutional Policies

Numerous colleges and universities have established explicit policies that prohibit professors from entering into romantic or flirtatious relationships with students. These policies are designed to preserve the integrity of the academic environment and protect students from potential harm. Violating these rules can lead to disciplinary actions or even termination of employment.

Conclusion of the Argumentative Essay on Should Professors be Allowed to Flirt with Students

In conclusion, the debate concerning whether professors should be allowed to engage in flirtatious behavior with students is multifaceted, encompassing intricate ethical, professional, and personal factors. Striking a balance between acknowledging the autonomy of adults in consenting relationships and safeguarding the academic process’s integrity and the well-being of all parties involved is crucial. Clear policies and guidelines should be established by educational institutions to address these concerns, respecting the personal lives and choices of both professors and students. Ultimately, the emphasis should remain on preserving the academic mission and fostering a positive, inclusive, and productive learning environment within the realm of higher education.

References APA 7th Edition

Rowland , D. L., Crisler, L. J. & Cox, D. J. (1982) Flirting between college students and faculty. The Journal of Sex Research, 18(4), 346-359, DOI: 10.1080/00224498209551160

Wade J. A. (2018). (I think) You are pretty: A behavior analytic conceptualization of flirtation. Perspectives on Behavior Science, 41(2), 615–636.

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