We really shouldn’t put up with this from our students–it’s a serious problem. Matt points me to an article on the rising tide of sexual favors in exchange for good course evals. When I started out I was pretty naive. Sure, students leered at me a bit, and that made me a little uncomfortable. When I went into a lecture hall, it seemed like their eyes were all over me. And then the suggestive comments: “Dr. Halavais, we really like your class, but you know, your evals would improve if you made your self a bit more available.”
I myself have managed to avoid trading in my innocence for a slightly higher evaluation, but when I see my colleagues do it, it saddens me. After all, I spend all this time trying to write good lectures and come up with interesting assignments, only to have Little Prof. Thing down the hall show up to class in shorts–all charm and flirt–sleeping their way to tenure.
We are not meat. There needs to be some clear lines drawn when there is such a strong power dynamic. These students hold our future in their hands, and it’s too easy for them to abuse this power.