La Salle suspends professor who hired dancers

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Jack Rappaport reportedly hired strippers to perform at an extra credit seminar held at a satellite campus in Plymouth Meeting, the Philadelphia City Paper reported.

A La Salle University professor has been suspended after reports that a recent lecture offered more in the way of lap dances than learning, colleagues said Monday.

Jack Rappaport - who taught statistics at the business school - reportedly hired strippers to perform at a March 21 extra-credit seminar at a satellite campus in Plymouth Meeting, the Philadelphia City Paper reported on its website Friday.

While La Salle administrators remained tight-lipped about those allegations Monday, university spokesman Joseph Donovan said the school had opened a "full-scale investigation into what took place and who was responsible." Rappaport could not be reached for comment.

Two anonymously quoted students told Philadelphia City Paper that women dressed in bikinis or miniskirts were on hand from the start of the session, which included about 30 students.

Throughout the lecture, the women gave lap dances to Rappaport and willing students - who had each paid $150 to attend the class on "the application of Platonic and Hegelian ethics to business," the paper reported.

However, two other students in attendance - who spoke to The Inquirer on Monday but requested anonymity - said that while scantily clad dancers attended the session, no suggestive dancing occurred.

Donovan would not say Monday whether the stripper reports prompted the university's probe into Rappaport but confirmed the date of the class in question. He also said Paul Brazina, dean of the business school, broke up the session after walking into it.

"Until the investigation has been completed, it would be unfair to those involved to disclose any further information, let alone suspicions or allegations," he said in an e-mailed statement. "While the university is proceeding as quickly as possible, we recognize the importance of guarding against a rush to judgment in this situation."

In an e-mail sent to attendees April 1, Joseph Ugras, dean of the university's College of Professional and Continuing Studies, promised each a $150 refund because the class had been canceled.

Officials may have said little, but across La Salle's North Philadelphia campus on Monday, other tongues wagged.

Students reveled in the report's salacious details, while Rappaport's business school colleagues said he had been suspended and his classes taken over by another faculty member.

Rappaport, 57, began teaching as an assistant professor of business management at La Salle in 1979, according to his faculty profile.

Specializing in management-information systems and production management, he also conducted research into the application of statistics into horse track betting - a fascination that bled over into many of his lectures, former students recalled.

On the website RateMyProfessors.com, students described him as everything from "great instructor" to an "easy A," with one student remarking in a review from 2004:

"Extremely strange man. Loves gambling, horse racing, and strip joints. Talks about all of the above all the time."

In addition to his teaching load, Rappaport also served on the university's committee on academic integrity.

 


Contact staff writer Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218 or jroebuck@phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writer Stacey Burling contributed to this article.