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Posted at 12:32 PM ET, 04/22/2010

Should professor be allowed to run a sex Web site?

By Valerie Strauss

An economics professor at California State University at Northridge operates a Web site that caters to men interested in sex tourism in Thailand, but school officials say they can’t do anything about it right now because he is tenured and, apparently, nobody can make a case that it interferes with his work.


The professor, Kenneth Ng, says his site is for tourists going to Thailand and offers advice on the Thai bar scene and where to meet beautiful women; it also includes pictures of scantily clad women and gives tips on how to negotiate with prostitutes, according to a story on InsideHigherEd.com. The site is not run through the university's server.

After the Web site, BigBabyKenny.com, was first publicized by the Los Angeles Daily News, school administrators said they didn’t like it but couldn’t immediately force him to close it down.

“Until we find representative evidence that it infringes upon the work he does at the university itself, there’s not much we can do about it,” Harold Hellenbrand, Northridge’s provost, was quoted as saying.

Hellenbrand also said, however, that if students complained, or decided not to take his class, the argument could be made that the Web site was infringing on his work.

Tenure is awarded to teachers in higher education who undergo a process and win the contractual right to keep their job without fear of being terminated without just cause.

Stay tuned.

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By Valerie Strauss  | April 22, 2010; 12:32 PM ET
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  BigBabyKenny.com, California State University at Northridge, Kenneth Ng, higher education, sex website, tenured professor  
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Comments

Anyone who this is "victimless" and that all the women involved are doing this consensually needs to read "Half the Sky: Turning Oppresson into Opportunity for Woment Worldwide."

Most of these women are not in the sex trade voluntarily. Anyone who in any way promotes the sex trade is promoting sexual slavery. For a "professor" to be associated with this in any way is unconscionable.

If you wish to voice your opinion on this you might want to contact the university president:

Dr. Jolene Koester
California State University Northridge
Office of the President
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330

Posted by: Jutti | April 22, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Nearly as distressing as the content of Professor Ng's website is the manner in which CSUN has dissembled and delayed, doing little in the way of real investigation into this matter.

CSUN has it within their power to discipline or terminate Ng if, per the statements they've made in the LA Daily News story and others, he was misusing state property, ie computers and network. This is provably so as many articles on the website in question were posted or edited during CSUN business hours, and that online activity along with emails he sent to many of his site's readers, were done on equipment belonging to the state of California.

CSUN administration needs only to check the computer and network logs to prove this to be the case. However they've apparently resisted doing this for fear they'd have to act against Ng and thereafter get drawn into high-profile dismissal proceedings and perhaps a court case. By shirking this responsibility they've helped make CSUN, the California state educational system, and the California taxpayers co-conspirators in the misery of the Thai women Ng and his ilk prey upon.

Posted by: Thomas_Enright | April 22, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I just reread my post and noticed the typos! When I am incensed about something my typing gets careless!

Thomas Enright correct. CSUN is not enforcing their AUP (acceptable use policy) by allowing him to access his piece of trash during "working" hours.

Even though he isn't hosting this trash on the university's servers, if he is accessing it via CSUN's system it is a violation.

Posted by: Jutti | April 23, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

HOW TYPICAL!

THE ONLY REASON WHY IT IS AN ISSUE IS BECAUSE NG IS CHINESE.

PERIOD.

Posted by: rush_n_crush | April 23, 2010 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Eh, I'm not upset about this as long as he still performs his job well. Sex is big in Thailand, he's just providing info.

I assume he manages most of the site from home. And even if he occasionally accesses it from work, I still don't care. It's a college campus, half of the traffic on that network is either porn or unlawful file sharing.

Posted by: Booyah5000 | April 23, 2010 3:50 AM | Report abuse

As long as he does it on his own time, who cares?!! Colleges and universities frequently hire staff with 'questionable backgrounds' and those classes often get the most students. Look at how many political figures have served time or been arrested that end up in classrooms all over the country. Unless he does something illegal, who cares about this guy's website??

Posted by: 12345leavemealone | April 23, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I just read a few posts on his site and I'm just thankful my daughter is not in any of his classes. There was a post that he wrote on how to pick up thai university girls at a local bangkok university. Also a post on picking up underage girls. I'm a little sick to my stomach thinking about how this guy tries to justify this stuff. He is mentally ill and bad things are coming his way.

I just hope the students and parents get wind of this. They are paying tuition there and they should know about this.

And talk about opening yourself up for lawsuits CSUN. I can see it now. A young female university student is not doing well in class. She claims that the Prof Ng is giving her failing grades because she won't sleep with him. The permutations are endless on the things that can go wrong here.

Do the right thing CSUN or be forced to.

Posted by: FreddieFacts | April 23, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

When considering the the moral implications of foreign prostitution, whether forced or voluntary, the primary moral consideration is really whether these females would survive without the servitude. Many countries like Thailand are rife with poverty and pestilence, and the conditions under which many voluntarily reside may offer the only opportunity to feed an entire family, or pay for medicine for a single ailing relation.

The moral and health hazards for prostitute's customers, however, are many, but there will always be those who would pay for sex rather than risk rejection looking for casual consensual relationships.

Regulation of the industry, rather than criminalisation, has brought about significant beneficial health and social outcomes in many nations. Were this done in every country the standards of living of these sex-workers would improve significantly and international transmission of disease would rapidly diminish. Unfortunately America stands in the way of such an answer and will continue to be vulnerable to, and a vector for, exotic disease transmission as well as international criminal involvement.

As for the professor, if he gives sound advice that leads to safer outcomes for Americans wishing to take a hazardous path, under different laws in foreign lands, then he should be allowed to do so.

Posted by: icurhuman2 | April 23, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm content with neither the "fire him now" or "what's the big deal?" responses.

Certainly there's a line to be drawn. Someone running a criminal enterprise outside of his/her job could reasonably be fired from at-will employment, even if it's unrelated to the job, as it says something about that person's trustworthiness. On the other hand, people still get fired in this country for being gay or lesbian. Some folks would say that being gay (even in a committed relationship) is just as bad as what Professor Ng is doing. That's silly.

Professor Ng's website suggests a lack of concern about exploitation of the poor in Thailand, which reflects badly on his character. Any evidence that this character issue is coming into the classroom should be grounds for dismissal. But, it might also be that the professor is not a sex pervert himself -- maybe he just sees it as a moneymaking opportunity and doesn't think about what actually goes on. We don't know. Some of the posts mentioned by commenters here are disturbing to say the least, and assuming that the professor wrote them himself, well... it doesn't paint a good picture.

Yes, if he uses university computers (or their network) even once to maintain the site, he could be fired and that would be right. The fact that posts appeared during business hours doesn't automatically mean that he used a university machine, though. Professors are not required to be physically on-campus all day. If he went to Starbucks between classes and used his T-Mobile account on a personally-owned machine, the university couldn't touch him for that.

Just to be clear, I'm not in favor of what he's doing, but I am in favor of clear thinking and getting the facts before sending out a lynch mob.

Posted by: jamshark70 | April 23, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

rush_n_crush wrote, "THE ONLY REASON WHY IT IS AN ISSUE IS BECAUSE NG IS CHINESE." The only people named Ng I've ever known or read/heard about were of Vietnamese ancestry, and I've never met or read/heard of a person of Chinese ancestry with that name. Sexual slavery is a very heinous crime and the professor supports it through his web site - shame on him and the university not objecting to his doing so!

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | April 23, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

rush_n_crush - What a delightfully absurd statement!

As I am not Chinese, it's a relief to me to know that I won't chastised for complicity in behavior that many people find reprehensible.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 23, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Professor Ng has reluctantly taken the site down.

"Professor Ng said that he is taking down the site because of the deleterious effect it had on the university’s reputation, not because he considered the subject matter and content as unsuitable for public discourse, public discussion, or public debate."

Email from the Provost, Harry Hellenbrand

Posted by: sscritic | April 23, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I've never met or read/heard of a person of Chinese ancestry with that name..."

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | April 23, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

SEE....TYPICAL IGNORANT RACIST ANTI-CHINESE RANT.

As I am not Chinese...."

Posted by: Bob-S | April 23, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

EXACTLY!!!

Posted by: rush_n_crush | April 23, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

DoTheRightThing,

Wrong! Please do the right thing and shut up.

Posted by: linux_fan | April 23, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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