Catholic higher education: lap dances by strippers?

Catholic higher education: lap dances by strippers? April 15, 2011

So it seems.  It reportedly happened at La Salle (my father’s alma mater) in Philadelphia.


La Salle University professor, Jack Rappaport, has been suspended for allegedly hiring strippers to give lap dances at an extra-credit seminar on business ethics.

Rappaport was in the front of the classroom and three bikini-clad and miniskirted women were on top of him giving him a lap dance, according to Brad Bernardino, a sophomore at La Salle who attended the March 21 session. At various other times, Bernardino added, the strippers gave willing students lap dances, and a PowerPoint presentation related to business ethics ran in the background.

“I think everybody was in shock that it happened,” Bernardino said.

Officials at La Salle University, a Catholic university in Philadelphia, said they were “very concerned” about the allegations and have “launched a full-scale investigation into what took place and who was responsible.”

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

Meantime, Professor Rappaport’s listing on the university’s website notes:

Being a professor at LaSalle gives me a great deal of joy. I live right at the campus and I am usually in my office most of the day. This allows me to be accessible to all of my students most of the time. I try to enrich my teaching by using interesting real life applications such as the use of the horse race betting market in the teaching of statistics. I am always working on research papers with many of my colleagues. I am an associate editor of a decision sciences journal. All this keeps me intellectually stimulated. I round out my life at LaSalle by giving classical violin concerts on an ongoing basis.

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23 responses to “Catholic higher education: lap dances by strippers?”

  1. I think it was the late Archbishop Sheen, towards the end of his life, who said, “I tell my relatives and best friends, ‘If you want your children to fight for their faith, send them to public school. If you want them to lose their faith, send them to Catholic school.’”

    If we can get enough faithful bishops in the USCCB, perhaps they can pony up to the bar, and review all Catholic schools in this country, objectively and faithfully. Then, we can strip the ones of their “Catholic” license who are really no longer Catholic (like LaSalle, Notre Dame, Georgetown, et al). And then, we can publish the results for all parents to see, so that they are not misled when considering sending their children to a Catholic university.

  2. Steve …

    Benedict Groeschel said something similar once, when a pious woman he knew came up to him and excitedly announced that she had gotten a job working in the parish rectory.

    “Don’t do that,” he said. “You’ll lose your faith.”

    I know what he means.

    Dcn. G

  3. There was a woman in my parish who expressed regret that she had become a member of the parish pastoral council and worked on a project that involved the pastor. The closer acquaintance greatly diminished the esteem in which she had held him.

  4. Deacon Greg

    Check out the “story within the story” related to LaSalle’s newspaper editor. he had the scoop of his young lifetime before the local papers – obeyed directions to hold the story and then made his point when he was told not to run the story ” above the fold”

    Obedience but made his point!
    He gets it more then some more ” mature” catholics


  5. Deacon Greg:

    La Salle is my brother’s alma mater and I have a graduate degree (M.A. in Pastoral Counseling) from there. Neither of us had the “privilege” of encountering this professor in class. (I believe he has been teaching at La Salle for over 30 years.)

    Since you are a journalist, you may like to see the latest in the saga. The school newspaper editor’s take on the issue.

  6. So, apparently there were no lap dances after all. The event was off campus. And as noted, the prof was suspended during the investigation.

    It seems that LaSalle didn’t deserve to be pilloried on this one.

    [From what I’ve read, the incident did involve lap dances, and happened during a symposium at the school’s satellite campus — so it was on school property. Clearly, the teacher blundered. Badly. Dcn. G.]

  7. naturgesetz:

    I don’t like to see La Salle pilloried either. But, I think that the administration is handling this situation involving the unprofessional tactics of this teacher quite appropriately. He is being suspended and another teacher is taking his classes. One source I read said that the event was unexpectedly cut short when a school official (identified by one source as the School of Business dean) interrupted the “show” after 45 minutes. In addition, the students were refunded the $150 they paid for the symposium, much to the delight of some of the parents I would think.

  8. Deacon Greg — on rereading, I see that the location was indeed a university campus, so I stand corrected on that point. But based on these paragraphs from the student newspaper article, I think it is at least possible that there were no lapdances.

    But two students who attended the seminar told the Collegian they did not witness any stripping of clothes by the dancers, lap dances or sexual contact between the dancers and anyone in attendance. The dancers changed outfits in accompaniment to Rappaport’s slideshow and traversed the room in a sexual manner, they said.

    Carlo Palencia, a junior accounting major in attendance, said some of the dancers’ outfits were “provocative,” including heels and mini-skirts. But most of the time they were wearing “something a woman would wear to go out to eat on a nice date.”

    “They would mainly walk around doing a sexy walk,” he said. “They would brush their hands over one’s shoulders and would lie on the table.

    “[Dancers made] seductive gestures but no one was sexually or provocatively touched.”

    If other eyewitnesses claim there were lap dances, I suppose it’s a question of which witnesses you believe. I find what’s in the “Collegian” article credible.

  9. There was clearly no probative value in this, and I’m rather tired of university faculty paying for all manner of perversion under the guise of education. The criminal justice majors don’t get a free pass at armed robbery or rape as “field study”.

    This guy’s just a pervert, and every student in the class should be given an A and a full tuition refund on the course. That’s the only viable solution at this juncture, as one cannot accept the grades from earlier in the semester as valid from such a sick and unethical mind.

  10. Can’t help observing that Rappaport bears an uncanny resemblance to Steve Carrell, who plays the manager on “The Office.” Ironically, this is EXACTLY the sort of thing that Carrell’s character (Michael) would do if asked to hold a symposium on business ethics. Life imitating art (however inappropriately).

  11. I don’t care if Rappaport was on campus or off campus, on the job on school time or off the job on his own time. I don’t even care if the women gave lapdances or not.

    Jesus teaches us that to lust is to commit the sin of adultury. The bottom line is that Rappaport facilitated and enabled sin and it probably is not the first time. Hiring women to act in a sexually provocative manner as part of a college course shows an incredible lack of judgement.


  12. What is sad is that when incidents like this occur on Catholic campuses most of the time the administration of the school goes into protective mode–not of Catholic values and morals–but on behalf of the worst in secular ideologies.
    For example, Notre Dame has become a sad joke as it constantly seeks pats on the back from the most immoral promoters of secular perversions.

  13. I suspect their investigation will find 2 addictions in this man’s life. Intoxicants and porn. It has all the earmarks of poor judgment and being immersed in smut so long one forgets how sick it is.

  14. I am a college professor at Regent University, a protestant Evangelical school. I could not get hired by a number of Catholic Universities because I am sure my theology background and PhD in Psychology; as well as research done on spiritual discernment in vocations to the Catholic Priesthood were just too “Christian” for them to accept. You see, I am a strong believer in the integration of faith and learning. I have found a wonderful home here at Regent. In fact, you can read my article about it in the National Catholic Register. It speaks volumes about how a number of Evangelical universities are more in line with JPII’s vision of a Catholic University than are some of our finest institutions:

  15. I hate to say it but one of these days one of these guys is going to get lynched and hung. Or it could be some woman.

  16. Steve,
    I don’t know if you’ve come across this already, but there’s a guide to choosing Catholic colleges that you might be interested in reading. It includes schools and essays on Catholic education.

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