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Herron said that college students in the customary age group -- from 18 to 21 years old -- are still forming their identities and that involving a student in a personal, sexual relationship would interfere with that process of emotional growth.

A Gray Area Representatives from the State University of New York at Purchase, Marymount College, Sarah Lawrence College, Pace University, Westchester Community College, Iona College and Mercy College also said that such relationships were discouraged by the administration though not specifically addressed in college policies.

But administrators, professors and students alike say that the issue of faculty-student dating is a complex one.

Some say that the unequal power in a relationship between a student and a faculty member -- particularly one who is in a position to grade or make recommendations about the student he or she is dating -- is inherently exploitative.

Ralph Cancro, a clinical psychologist and chairman of the Psychology Department at Marymount College.

"Just as there is a transference of emotion to the therapist, there is also a transference of emotion to the professor.

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