Phew! Let’s take a break from the embezzlement sweepstakes and revisit last month’s school for scandal, Northwestern University, where Professor John Michael Bailey procured the services of an exhibitionist and her “boyfriend” to demonstrate the finer points of female ejaculation, creative vaginal stimulation, and good old, down ‘n dirty public masturbation.
The thorough investigation into the propriety of the post-class impromptu sex show is ongoing at Northwestern; however, it appears that what Professor Bailey started has caught on, if not in classrooms across America, at least in those of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love—and lap dances.
One Jack Rappaport, Assistant Professor in the School of Business at LaSalle University since 1979, recently invited ecdysiasts to perform for a continuing studies class, according to a report in Phillydotcom, the online version of the Philadelphia Inquirer. There are conflicting reports on what the dancers were wearing and when they were wearing it (or not), just as there are conflicting stories about just how many, if any, laps were danced upon. But a couple of facts are clear: whatever happened in Professor Rappaport’s class on the application of Platonic and Hegelian ethics (I refrain from stating the obvious)
to business has led to Lasalle’s opening a “full-scale investigation into what took place and who was responsible,” according to university spokesman Joseph Donovan, who, while declining to say
whether the stripper reports prompted the university’s probe into Rappaport…confirmed the date of the class in question. He also said Paul Brazina, dean of the business school, broke up the session after walking into it.
The Inquirer also reports that Spokesman Donovan said in an email that
Until the investigation has been completed, it would be unfair to those involved to disclose any further information, let alone suspicions or allegations. While the university is proceeding as quickly as possible, we recognize the importance of guarding against a rush to judgment in this situation.
This must have been a deer-in-the-headlights moment for Donovan, who as any good member of an academic community, puts due process above all else. Including logic. For although he cautions against a “rush to judgment,” he also confirms that whatever was happening in that classroom was abruptly terminated by Dean Brazina. Whatever the facts of the case, the dean at least appears to have been in a rush.
While the student—Rappaport—in this case seems but a pale copy of the original—Bailey—once again one is forced to ask “where are the faculty member’s critical thinking skills?” Perhaps, in Professor Rappaport’s case, they’d already decamped to the VIP classroom for the one-on-one independent study module.
While this classroom sexcapade raises disturbing but by now familiar issues, there is a kind of poignancy to Professor Rappaport. A permanent habitue of the lowest rung of the academic ladder, he says of his life’s work:
Being a professor at LaSalle gives me a great deal of joy. I live right at the campus and I am usually in my office most of the day. This allows me to be accessible to all of my students most of the time. I try to enrich my teaching by using interesting real life applications such as the use of the horse race betting market in the teaching of statistics.
In his spare time, he adds, he enjoys giving violin concerts and teaching the violin. Over at RateMyProfessors, more than one student makes mention of Rappaport’s b.o., a few describe him as “weird,” and several talk about his “obsession” with horse racing and strippers. There is virtual unanimity that a course with Rappaport pretty much guarantees an “easy A.” But. The students are divided in what they think they learned in Rappaport’s class, and what they think of him as a person–body odor aside. What emerges is a sketchy portrait of a soul if not lost then at sea. Having read these ratings I confess I am left wondering if there is less rather than more to this story, in spite of the dean’s rush to judgment.
UPDATE: On April 15, LaSalle relented and let its student newspaper The Collegian publish a story about the class the administration had embargoed. It’s well-written, and I suspect very accurate. You should read it.