University of Colorado-Boulder professor Patti Adler will continue teaching deviance course

6:17 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

BOULDER - A University of Colorado-Boulder teacher will return to the classroom after a controversial skit in her course raised concerns among some university officials.

CU gave the OK last week for Patti Adler to resume teaching her popular course on deviance in U.S. society.

In November 2013, professor Adler explained levels of prostitution through a skit put on by several of her teaching assistants. The skit begins with a teaching assistant portraying a sex slave. Video of the skit shows the girl wearing lingerie, accompanied by another person playing her pimp. Students say five other teaching assistants portrayed different kinds of prostitutes.

Sophomore Colin Harkrider attended the lecture.

"That will stick with me for awhile. It was very unorthodox," Harkrider said.

While he supported the lecture, Harkrider says the skit was initially slightly uncomfortable.

"One girl, she was wearing a short skirt, a thong, where you could see fishnet stockings and a short little top," he explained.

Professor Adler told 9NEWS the provocative skit has been a part of her course for the past 20 years. She says the new sociology chair warned her against the performance but she went ahead with it claiming academic freedom.

On Thursday, Adler announced she plans to return to teaching the course she has taught for more than two decades.

Adler responded with the following:

"After more than a month marked by trauma, turmoil, and great emotional distress for my family and myself, I am proud to say that the University of Colorado has backed down from their initial position and is allowing me to return to teach this semester in the course, Deviance in U.S. Society. During this process my character was severely and repeatedly defamed by administration officials, I was denied academic freedom and due process, my rights to privacy in a personnel matter were trampled, I was both intimidated and induced to take early retirement, and was then buffeted by the continuous and changing stories coming from the University as they attempted to cover-up their egregious mishandling of my case.

Although it is gratifying that the Dean of Arts and Sciences has affirmed the Sociology Department Executive Committee's affirmation of the Ad Hoc Committee's decision to permit me to continue teaching a course that for 25 years has been held in high esteem with no reported complaints, the fact that it had to undergo this extraordinary scrutiny to reverse CU's initial jump to judgment is a sad statement on what is occurring in universities.

My victory today is a small one, and mostly Pyrrhic, because the trends toward mission creep and overreach by bodies such as the Office of Discrimination and Harassment and Institutional Review Boards are increasingly dominating decision-making in higher education. Universities and schools at all levels around the globe are increasingly sacrificing academic freedom as they become more concerned with risk and liability than with creating an environment in which creativity and ideas can flourish and students can be challenged to expand their horizons.

I greatly appreciate the support I have received from students, faculty, and outside organizations. Due process, academic freedom, and the role/power of these various entities within universities everywhere continue to be problematic. These are universal issues, not ones confined to my case. Whatever path I choose, my husband and I will continue to fight for the cherished values that initially drew us to the life of scholarship, service, and the education of all people."

Spokesperson for CU, Bronson Hilliard, told 9NEWS "we wish her well in the course."

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

Most Watched Videos