The man behind controversial student 'dating' site Shagatuni.com says there has been a surge in lecturers joining the site.
Shagatuni.com was set up in September 2012 to help students to meet for sex, but founder Tom Thurlow, 23, is now encouraging lecturers to join – and the site is even offering them free membership for a year.
Tom is the brains behind a number of controversial online ventures including a series for MTV called The Freshers which followed the exploits of students during Freshers' Week.
His latest site has been criticised for “encouraging lecturers to abuse their positions of power”.
A statement on the website says: “Since the beginning of 2014 we’ve seen an even bigger uptake to the site by university professors.
“We recently polled 1,773 of our members and over half of them (54%) admitted to have been sexually attracted to their lecturer. And of these horny students, three fifths (61%) confessed to indulging in ‘flirtatious behaviour’ with the lecturer in question.
“To put it simply, there are students in vast numbers who want to get it on with the person who stands in front of the blackboard. It could be a power thing or perhaps they just prefer someone with experience in the bedroom?
“At Shagatuni we’re extremely accommodating and we see no good reason why not to encourage student and lecturer relations.”
A list of advice to lecturers using the site includes the tip: “Try and avoid hooking up with a student you teach to avoid any discrepancies over exam results or degree grades.”
One university lecturer said he was “appalled” by the website.
The 31-year-old, who asked not to be named, said: “I think it’s utterly wrong that this website is encouraging lecturers to abuse their positions of power.
“You’re talking about students who are still finding themselves in life and perhaps a bit naïve and and this site is, it could be argued, taking advantage of them.
“Obviously the students have to be looking for it in the first place to join the site, so it’s not as though they’re being seduced, but they’re still young and could very likely regret getting together with a lecturer later in life.”
Abi Thomas, a student from Cheltenham, called the website “creepy”.
The 20-year-old said: “I don’t agree with what Shagatuni is doing. Personally, I think there should be a line between teachers and students.
“It’s creepy. Lecturers shouldn’t be trawling the internet looking for students for sex.
“I know there are students who are 18 and think it’s somehow cool and daring to sleep with their lecturer, but they’ll probably regret it later in life, and this is just encouraging them to do it.”
But Tom, the man behind the planned Cheltenham-based reality TV show The Cheltonians, was adamant there is nothing wrong with encouraging lecturers to sleep with students.
He said: “I get that some will find it controversial, but that doesn't mean lecturers and students don't sleep with each other. Shagatuni is the biggest site for students and sex so it's only right that we lead the way in facilitating this naughty trend.”
Regarding where he got the idea from, he said: “I know lots of students personally who fancy their lecturers. One (who shall remain nameless) even told me he slept with his twice. So this got me searching on my site for this trend. Low and behold he isn't the only one getting some extracurricular.”
Explaining how the site works for lecturers, he said: “So they can browse through the users of my site just like a student can.
“When they find one that takes their fancy, they can message and arrange a hook up. Lecturers can also message us and get free membership for the rest of this year as I'm currently trying to get more and more of them using Shagatuni.”
Relationships between lecturers and students are not illegal, but many universities have codes of conduct which discourage staff from having romantic links with students.
A spokesman for the University of Gloucestershire said: “The University of Gloucestershire, like any other university or business, has a code of conduct which its staff must uphold.
“This includes an obligation to disclose any relationship with a student so that we can take appropriate action to protect the integrity of teaching and learning.”