The following is a guest post by Michael DeCesare, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Merrimack College.
“Tenured Professor Is Placed on Leave After Showing a Film About Pornography” was one of the headlines screeching across the April 20 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education. The case of that tenured professor, sociologist Jammie Price of Appalachian State University, is deeply disturbing.
In fact, the headline itself is troubling, since Dr. Price neither showed a “film about pornography” nor was “placed on leave” because she showed it. What she showed in her class was a widely used anti-pornography documentary–which was produced by the acclaimed Media Education Foundation and which Dr. Price borrowed from ASU’s library–called “The Price of Pleasure.” And Dr. Price was placed on leave, apparently, for a variety of reasons, according to ASU vice provost Anthony Gene Carey: she showed the documentary in her introductory sociology course; she “failed to warn students” about the content of the documentary; she disparaged student athletes; she talked about her personal life and political views in her classroom; she stated that she did not like working at ASU; and she criticized the ASU administration.
Seriously? Which one was it?