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January 1, 2006
CUNY is bringing in the "dean of academic studies" from "Whore College" — a hooker who advocates legalized prostitution — to speak at an on-campus scholarly conference on sex workers' rights. Carol Leigh, 54, who markets herself as "Scarlot Harlot," is scheduled to be a featured panelist at the public college's spring conference, "Sex Work Matters: Beyond Divides."

The academic event — said to be a first for the Big Apple — "brings together sex workers, artists, activists and academics" for a discussion on recognizing prostitution and sex work "as a legitimate profession with the accompanying legal protections."

It's slated for March 30 at the City University of New York Graduate Center. The public conference kicks off the night before with a "Sex Workers Soiree" sponsored by Spread, America's only magazine covering "the sex industry from a workers' perspective."

"Prostitution is legal in most civilized countries, but the U.S. has done a pitiful job of protecting the rights of sex workers," said Sibyl Schwarzenbach, a CUNY ethics professor and adviser on the conference, who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard. Schwarzenbach also slammed the Bush administration for making a "repressive situation" worse by backing a law that requires federally funded HIV/AIDS programs to oppose legalizing prostitution.

"The current political climate necessitates that New York — home to many academics engaged in the sex-workers-rights debate — host a sex-workers conference this year," Schwarzenbach told The Post.

While the conference topics are not yet finalized, those on the short list include "Sex Work Careers," "Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Transsexual Sex Work" and "Sex Work and the Family."

The event is the brainchild of CUNY grad student Antonia Levy and New School grad student Alys Willman-Navarro, whose Web site says they have "funding for travel scholarships for eligible participants."

Leigh, who hails from San Francisco, said she is among those participants. In May 2005 she launched Whore College — a series of classes for sex workers — in conjunction with the San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Art Festival.

Courses included "Safer Oral Sex Techniques," "Advanced Erotic Touch" and "Six Herbs That Can Cure Anything, with a Focus on Genital Health."

To date, Whore College has bestowed diplomas on 40 students. The next round of classes is scheduled for July, in Las Vegas.

Leigh's CUNY presentation on "sex-industry politics will be lifted directly from Whore College curriculum," she said. Asked if she still practices the world's oldest profession, Whore College's self-proclaimed dean of academic studies answered: "Of course — though just part-time now." CUNY officials declined to comment