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Patti Adler, CU professor, called on the carpet over prostitution skit

Categories: Education

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Photos, video and more below.
Patti Adler is a longtime professor at CU-Boulder. But whether she'll continue at the school is unclear at this writing due to complaints over a prostitution skit included in her "Deviance in U.S. Society" class. Not since CU-Boulder's long-running (and ultimately successful) effort to fire controversial professor Ward Churchill has a conflict between the university and an instructor roused such passions, including multiple social media campaigns and an online petition to save Adler's job. Get details, see a video and read CU's response below.

An article in the publication Inside Higher Ed features an interview with Adler, who notes that the prostitution lecture has been part of her class for many years. In it, she has teaching assistants portray prostitutes who fit into assorted categories: "slave whores, crack whores, bar whores, streetwalkers, brothel workers and escort services."

The TAs, who Adler says volunteer to take part, then appear at the class in costume, with the prof conducting script-based mock-interviews featuring their comments about the specifics of their jobs and the inherent risks.

Here's a screen capture from one lecture, as seen in a 9News report below:

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Even though participation in the lecture is said to be "entirely voluntary and not part of anyone's grade," Adler tells Inside Higher Ed that her approach troubled Steven Leigh, College of Arts and Sciences dean, after he heard from an ex-TA who'd "raised a concern that some participants might be uncomfortable." Adler says Leigh mentioned the "post-Penn State environment" -- a reference, presumably, to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal -- in the context of suggesting that the prostitution lecture presented "too much risk."

As such, Adler says Leigh gave her the option of accepting a buyout from CU or sticking around but agreeing not to teach the course and present the prostitution lecture -- both of which strike her as violating the letter and spirit of academic freedom.

Ditto that for those who've been weighing in on the Help Patti Adler stay at CU!!! Facebook group and a second page entitled Help Save Patti Adler's Teaching Career. Here's one particularly telling post on the former:

Patti's research and Deviance in Society class is one of the major reasons I wanted to become a sociologist. Her work, although controversial at times, is instrumental in the study of sociology and CU would be making a huge mistake letting her go. Who wants to take a class that is run of the mill, doesn't make them think or challenge them in any way? Controversial? Sure. But there are a lot of classes you could deem 'controversial' or 'inappropriate' at CU. Patti is a strong and inspirational professor and she should be treasured at CU, not cast aside.
Continue for more about Patti Adler and CU-Boulder, including another photo, a video and a letter from to students and staff about the issue.


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25 comments
king.priest.ce
king.priest.ce

Denver county cop-on-cop strip search impregnates female cop? divorce or anulmant ? CHARGES DROPPED DA?!!! Guns and car registration not changed and not in inventory list? Prostitution/Organized Crime or IRS fraud?!

"Cop doesn't count."-dpd quote re "Thin Blue Line"

Dean Wyant
Dean Wyant

What? How dare she force our new adults to think! She should be rewarded for this, not chastised.

Rick Niemeyer
Rick Niemeyer

So let me get this straight: You are saying that its ok for society to tell a woman "you knew what you were getting into when you took the job," "if you don't like it, work somewhere else" and "you should have told your boss no if you didn't want to do it" whenever she feels uncomfortable when asked to engage in sexually-charged activities unrelated to her job title (which she feels she cannot refuse to perform out of fear of repercussions from an authority)? Perhaps you should have taken a few Sociology of Gender and Sociology of Power courses along with your deviance course.

John Larson
John Larson

you kinda see why kids act out like they do with "professors" doing crap like this

Alyssa Mitchell
Alyssa Mitchell

Actually it doesn't. I'd feel the same way. Especially considering that I am basing my opinion on the fact that I took deviance with Adler and interacted with her. It is still about a teacher who has been teaching a class the same way for several years.

Rick Niemeyer
Rick Niemeyer

I'm pretty sure you and others supporting Patti would have a very very different opinion of this story if Patti was in fact a male professor named Patrick. Don't believe me, consider your post in that context: "I also took his class. 6 years ago. He did the same prostitution sketch back then too. It seems to me that the female TAs should think twice about working in a class where they know they will be asked to participate in this lecture if they are uncomfortable. Also, Patrick is a wonderful professor. I cannot even picture him forcing anyone to do anything they aren't comfortable with. It does indeed sound like some female student's complaint got blown way out of proportion. Oh and did any of these female TAs even try to say no? Doesn't sound like it. As women working in an academic setting, they need to learn to open their mouths and communicate like adults." Sounds like a very different narrative, doesn't it?

Alyssa Mitchell
Alyssa Mitchell

I also took her class. 6 years ago. She did the same prostitution sketch back then too. It seems to me that the TAs should think twice about working in a class where they know they will be asked to participate in this lecture if they are uncomfortable. Also, Patti Adler is a wonderful professor. I cannot even picture her forcing anyone to do anything they aren't comfortable with. It does indeed sound like some student's complaint got blown way our proportion. Oh and did any of these TAs even try to say no? Doesn't sound like it. As adults working in an academic setting, they need to learn to open their mouths and communicate like adults.

brandiwine84
brandiwine84

Deviance in US Society was one of my favorite courses up there. If adults cannot handle the material in a voluntary class, that seems like a personal problem to me, not Patti's. The department will suffer without Patti, but I'm sure she'll be juuussst fine without the department. I wish her the best, whatever may happen.

Seth Iniguez Bertoni
Seth Iniguez Bertoni

If you take a class called "Deviance in US Society", what do you expect? Church groups and bake sales?

Paul Malczewski
Paul Malczewski

Sensership. The young adults in her class just cannot handle This kind of racey teachings. What a joke! Shit the f**ck up & let her teach.

Charlene McCune
Charlene McCune

Seems a bit over reaction... it's not like she is masters and johnson and having sex in the back offices..

Chris Wilke
Chris Wilke

This is absurd political bull crap. Not like she was stealing academic works as other professors. Academic integrity is compromised by political correctness. That's why I hate those dirty hippies at CU boulder.

Michael Beckerman
Michael Beckerman

I actually took Professor Adler's Deviance in Society class when I was a college student at CU Boulder several years ago. It was one of my favorite classes and Professor Adler was one of my favorite instructors there. I would be a terrible shame to lose such a talented professor over something like this. This is clearly being blown way out of proportion here.

Manav Bagga
Manav Bagga

I've had a class with her best teacher I've ever had!

Mike Lopez
Mike Lopez

wtf? come on CU., you are not a right wing shill

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... Pimps Up, Ho's Down!


NeilRobertson
NeilRobertson

This story is a complete sham created by this professor who's simply looking for a fight and attention. Having graduated from CU, it's often hard to tell where the immaturity lies: students or faculty (or both?). She was never going to be "fired" and she isn't going to be "fired" now. Instead, she decided to lie in order to dust up a storm and play victim. She's a joke though. She is not and never was the kind of victim she teaches about. Of course, Westword has to feed into her BS though.

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