Phi Beta Cons

Recruiting ‘Escorts’ at U. of Maryland

The Washington Post just ran a story about a sex probe focusing on Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the madam who brought down Randall Tobias, who was director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. After 18 months in state prison, Palfrey started Pamela Martin & Associates, a firm the Post says specializes in “erotic fantasies” and self-described as “’the best adult agency around.’”

The story is also getting attention because, as the New York Post reports, Palfrey’s “little black book” of customers includes the names of administration officials, lobbyists, advisers and well-known media pundits.
But what piqued my interest is that university professors are reported to be among the women hired by the firm over the years. Moreover, the firm is said to have recruited escorts through the University of Maryland student newspaper.
This last revelation raises the following questions: Were the advertisements placed in that paper subtle of meaning, or were they clear enough to suggest prostitution? Did they suggest that coeds might be able to earn large sums of money? Why didn’t the ads draw the suspicion of the paper’s staff? Who let these ads run? Does this and other campuses have any policies for acting in loco parentis to protect young women from unscrupulous employment? What is university oversight in such cases?
These matters should be explored further.
[Tip: writer Jack Kemp]

Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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