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Your Professor, the Sex Tourist

April 23, 2010

“When we visited Thailand with The SOLD Project in January and saw the Red Light districts, we were disappointed and surprised to see that the men who frequent the sex bars are not as unfamiliar as you’d expect–or like. The men who were sitting with prostitutes and eating breakfast with them in our hotel each morning looked like my dad, my pastor, my college professor, my big brother, my best friend’s boyfriend. The comfortable “them” box I’d created, which consisted entirely of dirty old men from basements, was shattered and I was left to grasp the fact that the men who pay women and children for sex are not as crazy and monstrous as I would have hoped.” – Heather Colletto, Communications Coordinator

Recently, a Cal State Northridge economics professor was revealed to host a Thai sex tourism website, and the university has, so far, stood behind him. (A great USA TODAY article can be found here.) It is, technically, within Professor Kenneth Ng’s rights to have a personal website, and we do understand the university’s argument that he did not do it on school time, equipment, or money.

It’s not about getting Kenneth Ng fired. It’s about sending a message to people across the country that their illegal hobbies, when brought to light, will not be tolerated. It’s about making it clear that taking advantage of women and children is simply not okay, and certainly not for a leader of an academic institution teaching tomorrow’s leaders. It’s about letting all the sex tourists know that their secret, “personal” hobby is not as separate from their everyday lives as they think. There will be consequences.

Right now, the first page of a Google search for “Cal State Northridge” includes the above USA TODAY article. There are thousands and thousands of people in the U.S. who have learned about human trafficking and are more than happy to send messages, blog, tweet, and re-tweet about an academic institution that is not taking a stand for the women and children who cannot take a stand for themselves. Bad publicity is a university’s worst nightmare!

Be a part of it. Join us and send CSUN an e-mail (see template below) that encourages them to send a message that promoting illegal activity is not an okay hobby for their faculty to have.

Here are some CSUN contacts:

University president: Jolene Koester, presofc@csun.edu
Dean of Ng’s Department: William Jennings, cobae@csun.edu
Department Chair: Adam Gifford, adam.gifford@csun.edu

The school’s Twitter account is @csunorthridge

Or the provost (Harold Hellenbard) at 818-677-2579 or Department of Faculty Affairs (who is directing such calls to the provost) at 818-677-2962

——————

Ms Koester,

At a time when potential students are sending in their applications for the fall, the first page of a Google search for “cal state northridge” includes a USA TODAY article describing how you, an academic institution, are standing behind a professor who is proudly promoting illegal behavior that steps on federal laws.

As I’m sure you are aware, one of your professors, Kenneth Ng, is running a website that promotes sex tourism in Thailand. Is this within his legal right to have a personal website? Yes. Is it within your best interest as a school to stand behind a man that is proudly encouraging illegal behavior? Probably not.

I respectfully ask you to sever your school’s professional ties with Ng; this will send a message to him that what he is doing–promoting illegal activity in another country–is NOT okay with your institution, and that you don’t want to associate with him (or be a part of his income!) Simply put, prostitution in Thailand is illegal, and one of your faculty members is standing behind his decision to encourage it; you, as an institution in support of him, are making a stand with him (and for illegal prostitution as well).

Instead, get some good press and tell the country–your potential students, your alumni, your donors, and the millions who care about women’s and children’s rights–what you are doing–tell everyone that selling the bodies of women and children is NOT okay, nevermind illegal.

Thank you for your consideration.

[YOUR NAME HERE]

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