No! Not a professor!

Ignore that awful RateMyProfessor website. I do, and I don’t even know my score there, and no, don’t tell me. The recipe seems to be to teach an easy class and give out lots of As, and then students will go on there to tell their peers what courses to take. For instance, here’s Steven Smith, a former journalism professor at the University of Idaho.

Wow! 4.5 out of 5, making him an awesome professor. That praise has to be muted a bit, since three of his peers in the same department got perfect 5s.

Of course, when you step out into the real world, you get a rather different perspective. Steven Smith has been arrested.

An account in Smith’s name for a mobile cash payment service was linked to an investigation into children using social media to send sexually explicit photos of themselves in exchange for money sent to them via the app, according to court documents.

The victims, 10-to-14-year-old girls, sent images to an Instagram account and received money through a cash app account. Internet activity of both accounts were traced to Smith’s Spokane home, the documents said.

Chat conversations showed Smith was aware of the girls’ ages, the documents said.

He had a “very large amount” of images depicting child sexual abuse and was actively downloading more when investigations searched his home Thursday, the documents said, adding that when a detective asked if he knew why they were there with a search warrant he replied, “yes, it’s probably from what I have been downloading.”

That’s Professor Steven Smith on the right, looking awesomely professorial

That’s something I’ll remember any time anyone brings up RateMyProfessor. Also, any time someone assumes that being a professor makes you smart.


  1. wzrd1 says

    Yeah, “when a detective asked if he knew why they were there with a search warrant, I replied, yeah, you’re here for the barbecue. Listen, you’re going to have to send someone out to get more meat and veggies”.
    I guess that I’m just too boring to go through that kind of stuff. Pity, I do enjoy cooking.

    When I need a new physician, I check the rating sites. What I’m looking for is complaints that doctor isn’t prescribing antibiotics for what’s obviously a virus, just for starters. I look for evidence of evidence based care, not popularity of the pill peddler.
    If I’m looking for a professor, I’d be looking for “steep learning curve” and available to answer questions. But then, I’m a bit contrary that way and do enjoy a steep learning curve.

  2. ANB says

    While I’m not interested in porn to any degree–and notably not child porn–I do know that virtually anything you do on the internet can be traced, and if it’s illegal, WILL be traced. I’m not terribly smart, but I ain’t stoopid. The raciest thing I access on the internet is Randy Rainbow.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Prof Smith has (so far) only been arrested for one case of sexual predation on children.

    Which, apparently, makes him three times smarter than “weapons inspector”, “intelligence analyst”, ConsortiumNews contributor, and Putinista hero Scott Ritter.

  4. williamhyde says

    When I was a professor we handed out student surveys which graded us on a 0-5 scale. Any mark over 4.5 was regarded with suspicion. When I got a 4.6 I pointed out the very small class
    size as a defense. But 5.0 would really have raised eyebrows.

    My first class was an embarrassing 2.6. (well justified) so my defense was accepted. Better 4.6 than 2.6 and I slipped to a defensible 4.2 next term.

  5. whheydt says

    At least he was smart enough not to lie to the cop with the warrant, so that’s one charge he’ll avoid.

  6. tacitus says

    Well, Jimmy Savile was awarded a knighthood for his charitable services — in particular fund raising for local hospitals around the country.

    The pedophiles who evade capture the longest do so because they’re very good at cultivating an unimpeachable image for themselves — one that is alarmingly effective in shielding them from accusations from the children they abuse.

  7. says

    tacitus (#8) –

    On a related note, Rolf Harris (one of Savile’s pals and a convicted child rapist himself) finally keeled over in May 2023. Good riddance.

  8. Ian R says

    @5 williamhyde That’s an interesting conflict with the rating curve in most customer service jobs. Although nominally rated 1-5, those jobs almost always discipline and then terminate anyone who gets under a 5. If you taught any older students who’d already been in the workforce, it would be reasonable of them to rate you 5 on the “Well, he wasn’t a complete asshole, and I don’t want to get him fired” scale.

  9. drken says

    There are a lot of reasons why people (especially college administrators) should ignore, but the fact that some highly rated professors are pederasts isn’t one of them. Just because somebody is a predator doesn’t make them bad at other things. But, at least they don’t rate professors on attractiveness anymore, so I points to them for that. Personally, I think the best way to rate a professor is to tell us the grade point average for their students in the next level class. That’s far more useful than how much the students liked them.

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    jeanmeslier @ # 7: ConsortiumNews? The tankie “news” site?

    Yup, the same one recently complaining about “Democratic censorship” (you will forgive me for not-linking, I hope…).