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.
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.