Patricia Adler stunned her students in a popular course on deviance Thursday by announcing that she would be leaving her tenured position teaching sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Adler said that officials told her that one of the highlights of the course — popular year after year — had to go. That is an annual lecture on prostitution (a topic covered in deviance courses nationwide). Her news stunned students, who are mobilizing on social media to make sure she can stay on. And because the course typically enrolls 500 students, many students and alumni are expressing outrage.
“Patti Adler’s deviance class was the best class I have ever taken. In particular, the interactive prostitution lecture was the most memorable and informative lecture I have ever experienced. It was in no way offensive…. It was real,” wrote one student on an online petition demanding that Boulder keep her, without barring her from teaching the deviance course.
On a Facebook page of students organizing a rally to condemn what is happening to Adler, another student wrote: “Patti has been one of the most influential people in my life. Not only has she taught me about how to view society, but she has helped me realize what really happens in this world. The prostitution skit was a learning experience, and the university needs to open their eyes if they have such a problem with what happens in the real world. Patti’s passion for deviance and every other subject deserves to be preserved, and she is what a fantastic professor SHOULD look like. Let’s make the administration feel like they made the biggest mistake they could.”
After Adler broke the news to her class, many students were in tears, and they gave her a standing ovation, followed by many hugs.
A university spokesman said Sunday night that Adler was still a tenured professor (although she said that the buyout agreement has not been signed or taken effect yet, so that is true but does not reflect her situation).
The Young Turks have also covered this story