I'm on record as being extremely skeptical about arguments in favor of loosening restrictions on faculty-student relationships. This post at IHE is certainly not the One True Argument that's going to change my mind. In particular, I pulled up in a screeching halt when the author invoked Tracy Flick, the scheming high schooler from the novel and film Election:
This example, by switching the usual trope of established, pompous male teacher preying on vulnerable female students who become ruined by the affair when the professor’s desire turns, offers us space to wonder what else might be possible in these kinds of relationships. Might students hold power in erotic or romantic relationships with teachers? Might teachers be thought of as human in their desires? It's tricky to think about Tracy Flick, since she's in high school, legally underage, and, therefore, legally unable to consent to a sexual relationship with any man or woman of her teacher’s age. I believe, however, that her own description of this relationship challenges commonly held beliefs about what can and does happen in the spaces between teachers and students.
The sleight-of-hand here baffles me. The example starts off as a "trope," then slides into "her own description of this relationship"--even though Tracy is a character (by a male author, at that) who doesn't have "her own description" of anything. We'll leave to one side the dancing around the underage sex business, as well as the purported originality of Tracy's "challenge." (The predatory young woman who seduces the professor/teacher, then wrecks his career, is an old trope, not a new one.) Fictional characters have the reactions their authors want them to have; we're not discussing real-world psychologies or consequences here.