Drexel University is investigating a law professor who thought she was sending her class a link to an article on writing legal briefs, but who actually sent a link to a pornography site's video of a woman using anal beads.
"Drexel has been made aware of the email that a professor sent to her class of law students that erroneously included a link to inappropriate material," said a statement the university released on Saturday. "The university takes all matters of this nature seriously and investigates them in accordance with our standard policies and procedures."
The university did not answer a question about reports that the professor has been suspended.
The website Above the Law first reported on what is being called "Beadgate" at the law school, and reproduced the message sent by Lisa McElroy to her students:
McElroy, associate professor of law at Drexel, did not respond to an email request for comment.
While Above the Law frequently writes of the foibles of law professors, it wrote that Drexel was overreacting in this case and should have just assumed that this was an embarrassing error and moved on, without -- as the university has done -- sending students a message about an investigation of the incident. Investigations are important (and required) if a college suspects that harassment has taken place, but that's not really the case here, the post argued.
"Let’s stop bead-ing around the bush -- sorry, I couldn’t help myself -- and look at this from a practical perspective," wrote David Lat in his analysis of the controversy. "Professor McElroy didn’t intend to 'harass' anyone. She intended to send out a link to some resource about legal writing, as you can tell from the intro line of her… posting, but accidentally sent along the wrong link."
Lat said the professor either was hacked, which he notes is possible, or she made a mistake when she pasted in the wrong link. "Here at Above the Law, we spend a ridiculous amount of our workday copying and pasting -- so when I read about this tale, I thought to myself, 'There but for the grace of God go I.'"