Title IX experts generally favor policies that require the relationships are reported to higher-ups, especially when there's direct supervision, said Brett Sokolow, president of the Association of Title IX Administrators, based in Berwyn, Pa.
But Sokolow said "broad-stroke" prohibitions can drive relationships underground, making them harder to manage.
Ben Weiss, 23, a recent Drexel University graduate, was adamant. The relationships should not occur, and universities should ban them. If students and professors are attracted to each other, "just wait until you graduate."
Johanna Matt-Navarro, 23, a 2018 Penn graduate, also sees merit in prohibiting such relationships.
"When you're somebody young and there's a much older person with a lot of academic power and clout expressing interest in you, I think it can be sort of difficult to objectively assess the appropriateness," she said.
But Jovils Cerepi, who graduated from Temple in May, said colleges cracking down on the relationships could violate students' privacy rights.
"If the teacher doesn't have the student in their class," he said, "it's perfectly fine."
Even in the mid-2000s, though, Steve Hunt said "it was hell" for him and Bridget after news of their relationship spread, even though she never took another class from him. He had notified higher-ups when they began dating, but some friends and colleagues tried to get them to rethink the relationship. Others gossiped. One employee asked Bridget if she was being brainwashed.
Most of their friends eventually came around, and Steve and Bridget say the challenges were worth it for the life they have now.
But had they met at Gordon or a similar school today, they know they might not have had their happy ending.
"A blanket prohibition would have ended our relationship," Steve said. "Or," Bridget added, "you would have left and been jobless." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.