Dear Dr. Date,As …

Dear Dr. Date,
As Senior Adviser in one of the two Premajor Advising Program offices in the College of Liberal Arts, I want to respond to the situation, discussed in your May 18 column, of a student who believes himself to be involved in a personal relationship with his “premajor adviser.”
Premajor advisers in the College of Liberal Arts take pride in giving each student a warm and caring welcome to the University, and in paying attention to the individual student’s concerns and aspirations. More than once in my experience as senior adviser, advisers have come to me seeking advice because students have misinterpreted that welcome and attention as more than a professional relationship, much to the surprise of the adviser.
Although your response to the student warns him against the relationship, and indicates that it is smart for the University to discourage this sort of relationship, you state that you do not think the relationship “is violating any policy or law.” In fact, a recent change in the University’s policy on sexual harassment makes it clear that a personal relationship between a student and the student’s adviser is highly inappropriate.
A revised University policy on “Nepotism and Consensual Relationships” that has been approved by the University Senate, the administration and regents, directly prohibits advising a person with whom you have a “personal relationship.”
“Personal relationships between faculty members or advisors and their current students are very unwise and may violate other University policies, even when prohibited activities have been avoided, because of the trust accorded to faculty members and advisors by students, the power differential inherent in academic associations, the difficulty of making alternative arrangements for grading and evaluation and the risk of real or perceived favoritism toward the student in the personal relationship and the potential harm to this student and other students.”
The line between professional and personal relationships with students must be carefully maintained, and a romantic relationship between an adviser and student would be both highly inappropriate and against University policy.
Paul Hesterman,Senior Adviser,CLA Premajor Advising Program