The cover photo highlighting the Princeton mentors story made me do a double take. Two young people, posed with a closeness that suggested anything but a professional mentorship relationship, and a mere inch below the heading “Title IX Protest Outside Nassau Hall,” seemed a very unfortunate choice.
Mentoring relationships are intended to cultivate academic and professional development. True, enduring friendships and some role reversal can occur – as depicted in most of the mentor/mentee interviews presented in the article – but there is also the very real potential for misuse of the power imbalance between a faculty member and a student. None of the warmly glowing mentorship stories even hinted at that potential.
At a time when Princeton must examine its treatment of sexual-harassment cases and be even more sensitive and responsive to abuses of power, the mentorship cover photo and story came across as tone-deaf.