Harassment policies and speech codes these days affect every aspect of campus life, including the content of academic discourse. Everyone is on the alert for microaggressions and situations of discomfort. But what about the discomfort of people constantly suspicious of one another, never sure who will misunderstand a word or look, commit a sexual transgression, or file a complaint out of anger over quite other matters?
This hardly creates an atmosphere conducive to teaching and learning. It also suggests an absolute separation between a personal and professional life that does not correspond with reality, though we like to pretend otherwise these days. People tend to get involved with people they know – in schools and workplaces. Thus, to formally prohibit relationships between adults is to take a huge step toward allowing the state to dictate personal life.
Thus far, the situation on college campuses has only gotten worse, not better, as the advent of campus Bias Report Teams and multiplication of avenues for filing complaints reveal. The ensuing hypervigilance has been instituted without any discussion of the consequences on human relations on campus.