Kissing the Pig

Maybe it’s a Florida thing, or a Southern thing, or maybe I just led a sheltered life and never ran into it before, but one of the ways in which it seems that Florida law students raise money for good causes is ‘Kiss the Pig’ auctions.

The way it works here at U.M. is that all of us on the faculty get a charming form inviting us to allow the use of our name in the “Kiss the Pig” auction. Students (or anyone else with an interest) can then buy entries at, say, $1 each, in the name of the faculty member they wish to be selected to kiss the potbellied pig. Entries are not transferable, but there is no limit to the number anyone can buy. Whichever victim has the most entries bought in his/her name is then joyfully announced and paraded down to the law courtyard to osculate the swine. The proceeds go to charity (here it’s the HOPE program run by Marni Lennon).

I’m afraid that I’ve so far neglected to volunteer. And now I know why: as Dean Joe Harbaugh of the Nova law school stated in banning a similar fundraiser in his law school, the whole concept is immoral because it scares and humiliates the pig.

In other words, at Nova the law professor may not mind kissing the pig, but how does the pig feel about it? Here’s the picture the Herald ran this morning.

very unhappy pig

Does this pig look happy to you? I don’t think so. At Nova, the pig was apparently terrified: ”I personally observed the animal shivering and moving its head from side to side as it looked [frantically in my judgment] at those gathered all around,” Dean Harbaugh is quoted as writing.

Now, I know some people may be tempted to argue that kissing a member of the UM faculty is a whole different thing from kissing a member of the Nova faculty. I am often willing to argue that we are the best faculty for many miles around, but when it comes to hog snogging I think we can claim no special virtue.

[Previous legal pig blogging: Legalizing Miss Daisy and Of Pigs and the Ballot Box. Florida. Gotta love it.]

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9 Responses to Kissing the Pig

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    I am aware of one case in which the pig did not show up at the event, so the “winning” faculty member was forced to kiss the Dean instead. Ew!!!!! But Harbaugh’s (and your) points are well taken. Maybe have the “winning” faculty member teach in pajamas or something? Surely there are a plethora of alternative ideas for humiliating law professors :>)

  2. BroD says:

    Could one gracefully beg off on the grounds that pig-kissing is not kosher?

  3. jdcdc says:

    My brother-in-law suggested that the fundraising entity also have a bank labelled “no bacon”…if it gets the most money, the pig goes back to the petting farm. But if it does not get the most money, then all can gather round for a good ol’ fashioned pig roast! (Just don’t tell the pig before hand…it’ll scare him.)

  4. Seth Gordon says:

    BroD: As long as you aren’t using your tongue….

  5. arthur says:

    I know it’s intended in good fun, but a public event on school property featuring a crowd hooting while a professor kisses a pig seems like an extraordinarily efficient way to offend both your observant Jewish and your observant Muslim students. Roughly comparable to selling tickets to a flag burning.

  6. Barry says:

    Just claim ‘family values’, and ‘biblical morality’.

  7. Sean Cleary says:

    “Does this pig look happy to you? I don’t think so.”

    And I base that on absolutely nothing at all.

  8. I’ve seen this a couple of times in the atrium at Nova Law. The pigs are very cute and they seem scared. But some of those law professors are pretty intimidating when they get all socratic with the pig.

  9. Excuse my ignorance but is it an honor to be picked up among other students? I think that person deserve at least a part of the pulled money.

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