Professor Philip Brown’s stunningly career-destroying move
I am always shocked when someone commits career suicide.
Don’t they realize that, while suicide can be botched, it is often fatal?
Don’t they know that stuff like sending cheesecake photos to someone you met on Craigslist can be hazardous to your career health, as an upstate NY congressman found out last week?
But Congressman Lee’s relatively minor lapse in judgment was quickly knocked out of the headlines by the news of the nutty professor from Colby. Economist Philip Brown resigned from his position once it was discovered that he’d secretly done some bathroom filming of a group of female students who accompanied him on a recent school-related trip to China. (I was going to write that he “chaperoned” the trip, but that, obviously, wasn’t right. The next word that popped into my head was “squired.” Hah!)
All the tenure in the world wasn’t going to protect this bad boy once the news came out.
Here’s the story (summarized/quoted from a story in the Kennebec Maine Journal):
Brown, who is an expert on China’s economy, had taken a group of students to China as part of an intersession project. Using Brown’s laptop, the students blogged about their trip, with their entries posted on Colby’s website. When a couple of students went to recover an inadvertently deleted post, they came across semi-nude pictures of one of their fellow students. The images were taken by a surveillance camera that Brown had cagily placed in the bathroom of the hotel room the female students were sharing. He had placed the camera in an emergency “medical kit” and instructed the students to keep it in the bathroom so they’d always know where it was.
Once the pictures were discovered, the students checked out the famous medical kit and found the camera, and reported their findings to college officials, who contacted local (Waterville, Maine) police.
The college acted swiftly, confronting Brown while he was still in China, and calling him back to campus where he was forced to resign – after admitting that he had also done this on an earlier trip to China, as well as “’only once in his apartment but not with a Colby College student.’" Which should come as a relief to the Colby family, but not necessarily to any woman that this creep had ever dated.
Not clear whether the in-your-own-home surveillance camera is a crime-crime, or just a complete, utter, and tasteless “ick”, but so far there’s nothing that can be prosecuted in the U.S., since the filming happened in another jurisdiction.
Brown, who had recently received tenure, was described in the college newspaper,
…The Colby Echo [as] "…a well-liked professor before his resignation" and "was known for being a challenging professor as well," but he had a "sometimes-unpleasant demeanor."
Little did they know….
Brown got generally high scores and glowing reviews on RateMyProfessors, with a couple of students claiming he’d inspired them to join the Peace Corps, to get a PhD.
…he is SO nice. Easily the best teacher I have had at Colby.
Wish all profs were this good at integrating assignments with real life.
Well, real life sure has integrated into Philip Brown’s, hasn’t it?
Maybe some company desperate for someone who “knows” China will hire him as a consultant. Maybe he’ll end up a pundit. Maybe some community college somewhere will hire him to adjunct for a couple of thousand bucks an occasional semester. Certainly no college of the caliber of Colby is going to grant this jamoke tenure.
And, unless there’s someone who this type of behavior holds a certain kinky appeal, I’d say his dating days are up for a while.
So what is it with someone who’d behave like this?
Is he just so I’m-so-smart hubris packed that he never thought he’d get caught? Well, the old “hidden camera in the first aid kit” trick might have worked, but why have students using the laptop you kept the pictures on? Not so smart, professor, unless you had a secret wish to be caught, with all the attendant mortification. (Psycho, meet sexual.)
Is Brown a truly disturbed individual, or just a garden variety, I like to watch girls pee creep. (Surely, he could indulge in this hobby on line somewhere, but I guess the thrill must be in knowing the women and/or the risk of getting caught.)
Anyway, Philip Brown (assuming he stays out of jail) has a long life of quasi-, job-cadging employment ahead of him. Instead of the nice tenured faculty position, at a good little college on a beautiful campus.
I didn’t read through all Brown’s student reviews, but there was one student who apparently wasn’t buying the BS:
Omg such a bad experience. He's ridiculous in his grading - unclear about what he wants. His lectures are boring and full of facts from textbooks. Not a smart professor and not a smart way of teaching. Worst econ prof ever had.
Brown may not be the worst econ prof ever, but “not a smart professor and not a smart way of teaching” seems to fill the bill nicely, don’t you think?