Colorado-Boulder Prof Suspended after Lecture on Prostitution

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 02:21 PM

By Lisa Barron

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The University of Colorado Boulder has suspended a sociology professor whose signature course is called "Deviance in U.S. Society," but officials maintain they have not fired her or made her retire.

Patricia Adler, a tenured professor, told students during a class last week that she was being forced out of the university because her lecture on prostitution was seen as a "risk" to the school, reports The Boulder Daily Camera.

Provost Russell Moore wrote about the incident that prompted the suspension in an email to students and staff on Monday.

"In this case, university administrators heard from a number of concerned students about Professor Adler's 'prostitution' skit, the way it was presented and the environment it created for both students in the class and for teaching assistants. Student assistants made it clear to administrators that they felt there would be negative consequences for anyone who refused to participate in the skit," he wrote.

But Moore added, "Professor Adler has not been dismissed from the university and is not being forced to retire. Dismissal requires extensive due process proceedings, and the university does not coerce its faculty to retire."

Adler, though, told the Daily Camera that university administrators gave her the option of taking a buyout and retiring or staying at the university and not teaching her class next semester.

"There's no guarantee I would ever be able to go back (to teaching the deviance course) or not," she said.

In an interview with Higher Ed, Adler also said she was given the choice of accepting a buyout now or staying with the knowledge that she could be fired and lose her retirement benefits if anyone complained about her teaching in the future.

Some of Adler's students have set up an online petition calling on the university to keep her and have planned a protest for Jan. 3, 2014.

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