The Impractical Professor

Philosophical ruminations.
Feb. 29 2000 3:30 AM

The Impractical Professor

(Continued from Page 1)

After quitting her post as director of Yale's African-American studies program, Hazel V. Carby returned six days later. Carby was prompted to resign after Yale President Richard C. Levin made comments at a dinner for Henry Louis Gates Jr., the head of Harvard's Afro-American studies department, which she felt insulted her program. In her letter of resignation, obtained by the Hartford Courant, Carby wrote, "To be jealous of [Harvard's] department is to invite a comparison that can only be interpreted to mean that we do not reach a standard of which you can be proud." When Levin drafted an open letter stressing his support for Carby's program and apologized, she returned.


Cow Pie Press

Iowa State University Press is mulling over a business consultant's suggestion that it sell itself to private investors. The specialized publisher brings in about $4 million a year on the strength of titles in the veterinary and agricultural fields, as well as essays by Robert James Waller of The Bridges of Madison County fame. The suggestion was spurred by the press's failure to hire a new director.


Flaming Monkey Papers

A fire at Dayton, Tenn.'s Bryan College—named after William Jennings Bryan—caused $6 million-$10 million in damage, reports the Associated Press. (Click here for a Bryan College press release on the fire.) Hit by the blaze was the college library, which holds papers from the Scopes "monkey" trial, which was held in Dayton in 1925. Most of the collection survived, as did most of the library's books.

Shelter From the Storm

Cambridge University students and faculty who volunteer at the local wintercomfort homeless shelter are rallying behind the shelter's directors—Ruth Wyner and John Brock—who were convicted under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The case followed the purchase of heroin from shelter residents by undercover policemen. The judge, unpersuaded by the shelter's anti-drug-use precautions, sentenced the directors to five and four years in prison, respectively, reports the Times Higher Education Supplement. The community has launched a "Free the Cambridge Two" campaign.

Physical Graffiti?

Former Emory University professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who resigned in 1997 after allegedly vandalizing the walls of the Emory business school, won an early court victory against the university when a judge ruled that key parts of his case must go to trial. Among the questions that will be addressed in court is whether Emory, through its use of campus police officers, violated Sonnenfeld's civil rights and intimidated him into resigning. (The judge dismissed his slander and infliction of emotional distress claims.) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a jury will also decide whether Emory played a part in persuading Georgia Tech to retract a deanship it had offered Sonnenfeld just before the purported vandalism occurred. 

—Hillary Frey


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