La Salle investigates report of lap dances at prof's symposium

Posted: April 11, 2011

A La Salle University professor who serves on the school's committee on academic integrity reportedly hired strippers to attend a symposium at which they gave lap dances to himself and students.

La Salle spokesman Joseph Donovan confirmed yesterday that the university has "launched a full-scale investigation" into the March 21 symposium held by Jack Rappaport, an assistant professor of management, at the university's satellite campus in Plymouth Meeting.

Donovan declined to say what the school is investigating, but according to a Philadelphia City Paper blog post by Emily Apisa, a La Salle student who claims to have spoken with two students who were in attendance, participants paid $150 to go to the symposium, where they earned credits in the College of Professional and Continuing Studies or extra credit in Rappaport's business classes.

Three scantily clad strippers gave lap dances to willing students and to Rappaport during the class, according to the blog, which broke the story on Friday. The nature of the symposium is unclear, although the blog suggests that it was supposed to be about "the application of Platonic and Hegelian ethics to business."

Donovan confirmed that the symposium ended when School of Business Dean Paul Brazina came in and brought it to a halt.

Donovan said that students who attended the symposium would be interviewed as part of the school's investigation. He declined to say whether Rappaport was still a member of the school's faculty or still teaching classes.

"Essentially, it's an incident which, obviously, administrators felt the need to look into, and they asked the university attorneys to conduct a formal investigation," he said.

Rappaport has taught at La Salle since 1979 and leads courses in production management, statistics and management-information systems, according to his curriculum vitae. It also says that he serves on the school's ad-hoc committee on academic integrity.

In his online university profile, Rappaport wrote: "I try to enrich my teaching by using real life applications such as the use of the horse race betting market in the teaching of statistics."

On the website, Rappaport's students call him everything from "a ZERO" to a "great instructor," and most say that his classes are "very easy."

Several commenters on the site noted his preoccupation with gambling and other entertainment.

One commenter wrote of Rappaport in May 2004: "extremely strange man. loves gambling, horse racing and strip joints. talks about all of the above all the time. doesn't like to teach. smart man about stats. easy A."

Another wrote in January 2010: "Somehow, I received a B in the class despite having no idea what I was doing on the last test. Did I mention I was the only female blonde in the class?"

Rappaport and Brazina did not return requests from the Daily News for comment.

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