‘Cambridge dons’ including former college vice-master are messaging undergraduates as young as 18 on Tinder
Senior Cambridge academics are messaging undergraduates as young as 18 on dating app Tinder, it was claimed yesterday.
A dozen profiles of men who purport to be employed by the university are approaching students on the app.
One don is reportedly a former college vice-master, while another who contacted two young undergraduates is a professor and visiting fellow.
The disturbing online behaviour has been exposed in an investigation by Cambridge University student newspaper, Varsity.
It says it has seen ‘overwhelming evidence’ that profiles presenting themselves as Cambridge academics are attempting to initiate relationships with undergraduates.
Senior Cambridge academics are messaging undergraduates as young as 18 on dating app Tinder, it was claimed yesterday
One Tinder profile by ‘Sam’ states that he is an ‘Entrepreneur, Professor and Designer at Cambridge’.
He adds: ‘I’m the guy your mother warned you about.’
Others claiming to be staff state explicit sexual preferences, including ‘kinky’. The undergraduates they ‘matched’ with had their age and student status clearly visible in their profiles.
One anonymous Cambridge student, who has received contact from staff, said: ‘As a young female undergraduate, these men appear powerful and influential, a fact which they are clearly using to their advantage on dating apps. There is already a power imbalance – and they are exploiting it.’
Users of the dating app must specify a preferred age range when creating a profile. Some professors’ ages are hidden on their Tinder profiles, meaning they pay for one of the app’s premium subscriptions.
To ‘match’ with another person, both parties must ‘like’ the other’s profile, which is only visible to them if they fall within a desired age range. After matching, both parties can exchange messages and ‘unmatch’ if they wish.
Varsity stresses that although the accounts they investigated may be impersonating staff members, their profiles passed photo vetting procedures designed to stop ‘catfishing’.
A dozen profiles of men who purport to be employed by the university are approaching students on the app
Cambridge Student Union welfare officer Ben Dalitz told Varsity it was ‘deeply inappropriate for academic staff to interact with undergraduates on dating apps’.
He said: ‘We would like to see reforms to the student complaint procedure such that cases are dealt with promptly and seriously, with real consequences for staff who have abused their power and position, and those who have experienced misconduct from staff are supported, not silenced.’
Cambridge policy does not explicitly forbid relationships between students and staff as long as they have no ‘professional connection’. Cambridge was contacted for comment.