Watch Sold in America: The Workers at 5:15, the owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch Dennis Hof says:

I have three PhDs working for me. One of them is a professor at UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and a working girl for me.

Is this plausible?

Do US universities allow a professor (part-time or full-time) to work in a brothel (full-time or part-time) while he/she is working as an active professor at the university?

My question stems from the fact that this gives rise to the possibility that a student may end up having sex with the professor in the brothel. I knew US universities do not allow professors to engage in love affairs with students. So, having sex seems to be a far cry.

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    Moderator’s notice: The ethics of prostitution is off-topic here. Any statement debating this or hinting at your opinion about this will be deleted without warning to avoid this debate. Same goes for any jokes on the topic. Take all of this to chat. Read this FAQ before posting a comment. – Wrzlprmft Jun 12 '20 at 20:31
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    You could probably check the UNLV faculty handbook to see if there are any regulations against this. However, this doesn't prevent someone from taking a second job and not reporting it. – Kimball Jun 12 '20 at 20:55
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    It may also depend on where the brothel is -- brothels are legal in some parts of Nevada, but not in much of the US. – Kathy Jun 12 '20 at 21:01
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    Your question contains an implicit premise that US universities can control what other legal employment their professors take up in their off hours. Are you sure that this premise is correct? Seems a bit dubious to me at a general level regardless of anything to do with brothels specifically. – Dan Romik Jun 12 '20 at 21:16
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    The one part of this story that’s completely believable is the fact that a UNLV instructor might need a second job to make ends meet. – Dan Romik Jun 12 '20 at 22:04

Many full-time faculty contracts require the faculty member to get permission to have outside work. It would be unusual for requests that do not prevent the professor from doing their job to be denied. Off-campus sex work not involving students would probably be approved.

Adjunct faculty, who are the majority, would not have this requirement to get permission, and could work wherever they please.

Professor Melissa Febos used her experience as a professional dominatrix to advance her academic career. Some academic research methods call for participating in the activities studied.

Faculty are required to follow sexual misconduct policies. These policies would not normally limit sex work with customers not affiliated with the university. Certain religious institutions, however, do fire faculty who do not follow religious rules about sexual activity.


It's typical for US universities to require disclosure of certain types of outside activities due to concerns with conflicts of interest and to comply with federal guidelines:


There are also typically clauses that don't allow outside activities to negatively impact work with the university.

I think it's likely that this would fall into a grey area where there is clearly no direct conflict of interest for the purposes for which such policies typically exist, but a broad interpretation could allow a professor to be removed if those outside activities were considered too much of a distraction. If students were aware of the other position or could be clients, that might be seen as more of a problem.

That might lead to a legal challenge but I'm not aware of any related legal cases related to brothel employment by professors, and broadly US employers have a lot of leeway in deciding who they employ. There is this story of a journalist-stripper-professor who was fired from her journalist position when her employer learned about her blog about stripping, but apparently not her lecturing position.

Note that having outside interactions with students doesn't need anything as potentially controversial as sex work. There are lots of ways students could potentially have a conflict of interest with a TA or professor if they have some financial relationship: if they hire them as a tutor, if they work at a bar/restaurant and are left a tip, if the students' parents buy the professor's house, all of these could raise a potential conflict of interest situation.

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