Metro, University News

Faculty appointment under review after arrest in prostitution sting

Stephon Alexander PhD’00 arrested for procurement of sexual conduct for a fee Thursday

By
News Editor
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Visiting Scholar in Physics Stephon Alexander’s PhD’00 appointment to the faculty is under review following his arrest in a prostitution sting Thursday night. Alexander was charged with procurement of sexual conduct for a fee.

Alexander, along with six other men, visited a hotel along the Coventry-West Greenwich train line in response to an advertisement soliciting money for sex on the website Backpage.com, the Providence Journal reported. The ad was posted by Coventry and West Greenwich police detectives as part of the undercover “Operation Front Page,” one of a series of operations meant to crack down on prostitution in the state, the Journal reported.

As a “non-instructional and unpaid” visiting scholar at the University this fall, Alexander would not have been considered a Brown employee until he began his faculty position in January, according to a University statement.

The University’s review of Alexander’s appointment will center on how the incident relates to its policies and core values, according to the statement.

Alexander received his doctoral degree in physics from Brown and has held faculty positions at Pennsylvania State University and Haverford College, according to Dartmouth’s website. His work has been featured by National Geographic and PBS.

In the fall, Alexander was on paid administrative leave from Dartmouth, where he has served as the Ernest Everett Just 1907 Associate Professor of Natural Sciences since 2012, specializing in theoretical physics, wrote Justin Anderson, Dartmouth’s Vice President of Communications in an email to The Herald.

Alexander was also the director of Dartmouth’s E.E. Just STEM Scholars Program, which offers mentoring and support to students of color studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to Dartmouth’s website. He has written about his experiences as an African-American physicist and racial biases that occur in his field of study in publications such as The New York Times.

Alexander’s hiring comes amidst heightened administrative efforts to bolster the faculty’s diversity, especially in departments related to science, technology, engineering and math.

In its statement, the University clarified that “the review does not constitute any adverse determination about the incident, and it would be premature to speak to any potential outcomes.”

Both Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin P’12 and Department Chair and Professor of Physics James Valles declined to comment for this story.

— With additional reporting by Kate Talerico.

 

Correction: A previous version of this article referred to Haverford College as Haverford University. The Herald regrets the error. 

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