William And Mary Essay

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When GQ published an essay by a former instructor last year portraying the College of William and Mary as a ''moral mosh pit'' of sexually overcharged coeds he was helpless to resist, a chorus of administrators, faculty members and students discredited the account as sheer fantasy.

The essay's author, the novelist Sam Kashner, was, after all, teaching creative writing. We just felt that it was important for the college to make it clear where we stand on this issue.'' In doing so, this historic college has rekindled a debate that has haunted academia for years, making campuses a battleground over the boundaries between sexual harassment and personal liberty and the nature of informed consent.

But this month, the campus adopted one of the most restrictive policies for any campus, banning ''amorous relations'' between the faculty and undergraduates and threatening offending faculty members with dismissal. At one end stands a belief that William and Mary's new policy embraces to the full: that the difference in power and status between students and their teachers is so great that students are at an inherent disadvantage and must be protected from potentially predatory elders.

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'' That's one of the reasons I came to William and Mary,'' Ms.

Hudson said, ''because of the excellent reputation of the professors, and professors don't get excellent reputations by coupling with their students.'' William and Mary is a small college that emphasizes close teacher-student relations.

Attractions that spill from the classroom to the bedroom may be older than the Socratic method itself, and officials at most universities can name at least one long-married couple who met on opposite sides of the lectern at their campus.

Saul Bellow, the novelist, married one of his students at the University of Chicago, according to James Atlas's biography. They'll see what'll happen.'' Here at William and Mary, the issue exploded with the publication of Mr.


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