Volume 9 Issue 3 (2020)

Critically Analysing the Ethical Dilemmas Arising from Lecturer and Student Relationships at the University: Pushing Social Boundaries for Institutional Revolution

pp. 139-152  |  Published Online: October 2020  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2020.93.2

Kieran James, Richie Bain, Norman Duncan, Michael Martin, James Mole, Michael Williamson, and Blair Wilson


The basis of the ethical dilemma discussed in this article is the controversy surrounding the personal relationship between a student and their lecturer. The social constructs of university highlight that the potential for any friendship or relationship within the institution is very uncommon and both parties usually assume that integration of their social groups cannot take place. Many people argue that the relationship of this nature can adversely affect grade attainment and fairness of judgement. We assess and reflect upon the merits of this conventional view by drawing upon a real-life case-study involving the first author (a lecturer) and the remaining six authors (his students). After considering the various arguments on both sides, and drawing upon authors such as Freud, Marx, and Sartre, we conclude that, if individuals remain honest, the relationship can only mean a greater understanding for the student and a lesser alienation complex for both parties.

Keywords: Academic freedom, academic ethics, alienation, COVID-19, existentialism, Freud, Sartre, Universities.


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