A poll was conducted by a Marist College student for other Marist students where professors were nominated and voted on based on their physical attractiveness.
The first place professor is Edward D. Messerschmidt, an adjunct lecturer for the music department at Marist. Messerschmidt won first place with 29 percent of the votes on the poll. “I’m honored and flattered to have been selected as one of the best looking professors on campus,” said Messerschmidt when contacted informing him of his victory. “I just hope that the students who voted for me also think that I’m a good teacher.” Messerschmidt’s victory came as a surprise, being both nominated and surpassing the now runner-ups on the last day of voting and almost in a flash mob manner.
The second place professor is Kevin Lerner, a visiting assistant journalism professor at Marist, who got 13 percent of the votes on the poll. “Partly, it’s flattering,” said Lerner regarding the notion of students voting for professors they considered to be good-looking. “But it’s distracting. It makes you self-conscious.”
The third place professor is Kevin Gaugler, an associate professor of Spanish at Marist, who got 12 percent of the votes on the poll. “I would say that your results prove just how unscientific the poll must have been,” said Gaugler upon being told of his victory. “We’ve got a good-looking faculty you know!”
The poll results were gathered from Thursday April 26 until Tuesday May 2, 2012. A total of 56 votes were gathered from about 50 different students. Students were allowed to vote once on as many professors as they wished and nominate all the professors they desired.
Most of the professors nominated in the poll had a chili pepper signifying “hotness” on their profiles in the Rate My Professors website, where students go and evaluate their professors based on helpfulness, clarity, easiness and overall quality. Both professors and students generally consider the website to be based on real interest from the students to help other prospective students decide on professors, as well as hint at professors who may be reading their profiles.
A total of 14 nominees were found, 13 of them who were professors, one being the poll student who conducted the actual interview.
Five of the 14 nominees were female, the majority of the votes being for male professors. Roughly two thirds of the voters were male.
Students were allowed to see the other nominees and votes, as well as which students voted for which professors. Both current students and alumni were allowed and desired to vote.
Reactions to the poll were varied. Some professors did not agree with the results of the poll, finding the methodology ludicrous. Overall, most professors found the idea of the poll slightly awkward.
Another criticism was the concept of the poll itself. “There’s something about the fact that a person is a student that immediately makes them unattractive to me,” said Lerner regarding the idea of the poll. “In the way that when I was a student the fact that they were professors made them unattractive whether or not they were attractive.” Some students considered the concept to be slightly disturbing, since student-professor relations are taboo and frowned down upon and against the New York Education Code of Conduct.
Some students found themselves shy when voting, since the public poll was made through Facebook, which allows others to see which student voted for which professors. “I haven’t used that poll thing before. People from Marist will still see it,” said Caslene Bulan, a student at Marist. “I would vote but it shows that I voted it and that scares me.”
Some of the runner-ups in the poll included film professor Sue Lawrence, communications professor Michael Koch and Assistant Professor in the computer science and math departments Helen Hayes.
One Marist student, Finn Corran, commented on the poll saying “This seems slanted, I only see one girl’s name. Koch is a real cool prof, though I’m less enthusiastic about his hotness.”