Minus the City – T and A

Allie Geiger

There are certain things in college that are simply not done. In addition to these, there are certain people who are simply not done. Everyone knows that professors are all completely off limits. Most people are also somewhat wary about dating townies due to the unfair social stigma that will not be discussed in this column.

There are some people who might make life a little more interesting if you were to date them, however. There are no rules against a little skin-to-skin contact with RAs or TAs. (Actually, TAs are “Peer Lab Assistants,” but PLA is not a very well known term and also sounds way dorky.) Naturally, if one were to bone one of these “authority” figures, there could be some repercussions. Worries about the RA/TA getting in trouble or about awkwardness in the living/learning situations are abundant in these situations. However, I believe these drawbacks to be completely overblown and the benefits to be much greater than the risks.

Although there are no rules on the books making it verboten, there is a socially enforced taboo on them. Knowing what you are doing is just the tiniest bit naughty makes things much steamier. Additionally, doing your TA or RA will make you look like the coolest person ever. It’s okay to tell a couple of friends that you and your RA are making the beast with two backs. If you brag too much, you may wind up damaging the reputation of your paramour. This will most likely come back to haunt you, so watch it.

An unsung benefit of seeing an RA is that they have no roommates to walk in on your romps. Similarly, if your TA has keys to an office, you could have some very risqué interactions late at night. (I absolutely cannot emphasize enough how much you should not, under any circumstances, hook up in an actual lab. Imagine the conversation with Dr. Miller, “And how did you get acid burns on your rump?”)

This type of pairing also comes with some obvious advantages. If you were to perhaps get in trouble with the RA you were seeing, it ‘s safe to say that you might not get written up if you didn’t abuse this privilege. Similarly, the TA you are seeing could possibly help tutor you through some rough patches or help you streamline your lab time.

There are relatively few risks to doing this. The RAs at Colgate do not play an alarmingly active role in everyday life. They are in charge of making sure everything is okay in the dorms and preventing people from engaging in illegal activities. Your RA is absolutely forbidden from falsely writing you up, so if things go awry, you’ll probably be all right. TAs are not allowed to do the grading on any work, so you are safe from any grade retaliation in that department.

It’s the second semester, so if you do split, it’s not like you will have to see this person again after May. Right now is the opportune time to take a gamble on a relationship like this. If things do go awry, just remember to be respectful of your ex after the breakup. It will make things overwhelmingly awkward if you were to behave in an unseemly manner. The interactions that used to be pleasant with your TA/RA could be jeopardized if you were to act like a jerkwad afterwards.