Graphic by Cameron Yong
Graphic by Cameron Yong

Harvard has changed its policy about student-faculty relationships according to the Los Angeles Times. Now, its policy stipulates that all students and faculty members may not enter a romantic or sexual relationship with each other. Before, the policy prohibited relationships between faculty and current students, while only discouraging relationships between faculty and former students. Many other schools have similar policies that frown upon such relationships, but do not forbid them.

Upon further reading of the UCR Faculty Code of Conduct, if the chancellor finds out about the student-faculty relationship three years after the fact, then disciplinary action may no longer be taken. So, guys, loophole — just be very careful not to get caught. Unfortunately, that means no pictures with the bae on Facebook or Instagram.

There is a reason many offices ban romantic relationships between coworkers. According to Donna Rosato in a 2014 “Time” article, “consider what it would be like to work on a team project with someone who has spurned you. Not fun.” The article goes on to say that a CareerBuilder Survey reported that 7 percent of employees left their jobs due to relationships gone bad. It may be a different setting, but TA-student relationships are basically like office romances — except a TA has complete control over your grades.

In this analogy, they are your boss. When there is a power difference, it adds a whole other aspect to the relationship. Suddenly, favoritism is assumed regardless of  whether you really are doing A+ level work. Even if you aren’t in their class anymore, you are putting your significant other at risk of being fired.

For many of us, school is our job. When we are distracted, we prevent ourselves from doing our best work. Only 56 percent of graduates last year earned their degrees within six years. A measly 19 percent earned their degrees within four years. The longer you stay in college, the more debt you rack up. It’s easy to see why our grades slip up when you consider all the other things college students have to balance — socialization, money management, extracurriculars — in addition to academics. It’s stressful. Trying to maintain a healthy relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend on top of everything else is stressful. Having to hide your romantic relationship is the sort of stress that will make you want to pull your hair out. Don’t pull your hair out. You look good with hair.

It is said that college is preparation for the “real world.” In the real world, there are expectations of us and we know that there will be consequences if we don’t live up to these expectations. There is a little disconnect between school and the real world still — we’re late to class or just don’t show up, we’re not going to be dropped from the class; but do this at a real job and you’re fired — but we’re old enough to realize that essentially the rules in place are the same.

College should reflect the outside world, because that is where we are going to end up after we graduate. Just like college is a step up in our level of accountability from high school, college is a time to prove that we are responsible adults ready to contribute to society. If we’re not meant to date TAs or professors we should accept that, because that is how the real world works. You don’t date superiors. Our professors may tell us now that they aren’t here “to hold our hand,” but after graduation we won’t be getting any sort of warnings. Just do your job. Good luck.

I applaud Harvard and its say-no-to-love policy between students and teachers. We are responsible adults and it’s your responsibility to treat your learning seriously and professionally. Keep those teacher-student fantasies in your head.