What should male profs do when a female student "flashes her admiration," as she inevitably will? According to Dr. Terence Kealey, "Enjoy her!"
Writing in an oddly-conceived edition of the London Times Higher Education Supplement, titled "The seven deadly sins of the academy," Kealey (vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham and author of Sex, Science and Profits) takes the topic of lust. He writes that "lust between male scholars and female acolytes" is inevitable and that "the fault lies with the females." He continues,
The myth is that an affair between a student and her academic lover represents an abuse of his power. What power? Thanks to the accountability imposed by the Quality Assurance Agency and other intrusive bodies, the days are gone when a scholar could trade sex for upgrades. I know of two girls who, in 1982, got firsts in biochemistry from a south-coast university in exchange for favours to a professor, but I know of no later scandals.
It's a little hard to parse Kealey's logic here — does he mean that girls bear the responsibility for relationships with their professors because they have all the power? The power to report an inappropriate relationship to the authorities? The power of their youth and hotness? The power of their sheer desire? Because, at least according to Kealey, oh how those girls want their professors. His evidence: Tom Wolfe. He writes,
[G]irls fantasise. This was encapsulated by Beverly in Tom Wolfe's novel I Am Charlotte Simmons, who forces herself on to JoJo, the campus sports star, with the explanation that "all girls want sex with heroes". On an English campus, academics can be heroes.
So what are the beleaguered heroes to do in the face of such all-consuming female lust, so undeniable that it appears even in a novel by a man? Resist, sort of. Kealey says,
[M]ost male lecturers know that, most years, there will be a girl in class who flashes her admiration and who asks for advice on her essays. What to do?
Enjoy her! She's a perk. She doesn't yet know that you are only Casaubon to her Dorothea, Howard Kirk to her Felicity Phee, and she will flaunt you her curves. Which you should admire daily to spice up your sex, nightly, with the wife.
It's nice that Kealey advises his readers not to actually have sex with their students. And I wouldn't expect male professors to totally avert their eyes from attractive girls in their classes. But I'm not convinced either that these girls are wielding awesome power, or that their behavior stems from their professors' "heroic" status. Sometimes flirting with the professor — or anyone in authority — can be a cry for attention. And sometimes young people who cry out for sexual attention actually need another kind, from a trustworthy mentor who can help them develop an internal sense of self-worth. Let's hope that the female students Kealey has "enjoyed" over the years got this kind of attention from someone else.
The Seven Deadly Sins Of The Academy [Times Higher Education Supplement]