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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Texas Tech Prof Loses Endowed Chair After Surfing for Porn With Video Feed Still on After Teaching Distance Learning Class

Hicks KCBD, Students May Have Witnessed TTUHSC Professor Surfing for Sexual Material:

50-year-old Texas Tech Health Sciences Professor Rod Hicks was instructing students this week from Austin via teleconference. We're told that when the class ended, he left the video feed open. This is when students on the other side of the feed saw Hicks surfing for sexual material. ...

We've learned through an open records request that Hicks was removed Thursday from his professorship of the endowed chair.

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Doesn't there need to be some investigation of what laws, rules, etc. are violated in these cases, or does the mere fact of embarrassing behavior result in dismissal? What happened to due process?

Posted by: mike livingston | Jun 30, 2010 6:07:30 AM

I hope that the students witnessing his porn surfing couldn't see if the prof was as well endowed as his chair.

Posted by: Woody | Jun 30, 2010 9:32:17 AM

Mike - It appears that this guy lost the endowed chair not necessarily his job.

Posted by: anon | Jun 30, 2010 12:14:35 PM

Distance learning is not worth much, in my opinion. This guy's solipsistic misstep shows why students also have a hard time learning -- unconnected to another flesh and blood person.

Teaching in person is much more efficient. It seems like it should be the other way around, but....

Universities use these distance learning classes as an ATM, taking the students' money but having minimal overhead: no classroom, no custodian, no light bill other than the server. Ripoff city, but it sounds cool and high tech. WRONG.

Posted by: V for victory | Jun 30, 2010 4:11:28 PM

Was it a well endowed chair?
(sorry - couldn't resist.)

Posted by: BlogDog | Jun 30, 2010 4:13:39 PM

How about making him wear a scarlet letter? Let's get into the spirit of the thing, people.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 30, 2010 4:49:27 PM

Perhaps the Health Sciences prof was gathering video examples of risky sexual practices.

At least, that's what I would have said.

Posted by: anon2 | Jun 30, 2010 4:59:33 PM

So, he can still teach, but he must stand all day?


Posted by: bobby b | Jun 30, 2010 5:17:32 PM

What happened to due process?

"due process" is a matter of law. The porno prof isn't being prosecuted. A college has a right to choose whom to teach its classes. More importantly, the students have a right to choose not to attend his classes. Freedom of Association?!

Posted by: ic | Jun 30, 2010 5:22:10 PM

Yes, that's correct, but shouldn't there be some kind of due process for that also? I would be quite surprised if he is the only professor ever to watch porn in his office.

Posted by: mike livingston | Jun 30, 2010 6:48:42 PM

What are the chances any of the students (at least, the male students) hadn't done the same thing themselves in the past week? Porn accounts for fully a third of internet traffic. This guy got caught doing what a solid majority of the population does...the hypocrisy and foolishness of destroying people for looking at nakey pics is far worse than the "offense." Those who destroy others over such petty b.s. are the ones who should be losing their positions.

Posted by: Steven M | Jun 30, 2010 7:52:38 PM

Distance learning is important to some. I took a distance course and the class included a guy stationed in Kuwait. It clearly provides education opportunities for those patriots serving away from the campus.

Posted by: Elroy Jetson | Jun 30, 2010 11:05:28 PM

True, Elroy. I had a student in Asia taking a distance learning class. BUT, they are still not optimal.

Posted by: V for victory | Jul 1, 2010 7:28:28 AM