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Professor Reportedly Shoots Colleagues For Denying Tenure

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by agalisgv, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    [Article is from Yahoo--can't get the link to work though]
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
    jamesy and (deleted member) like this.
  2. uyeahu

    uyeahu Agitator. Sharpie lover (figuratively speaking).

    This happened at my University and I can literally see the Shelby Center from my living room. Nothing ever happens in this town full of boring engineers but in the past month we've had a plane crash that killed two, a middle school shooting (just last Friday) where one 14 year old shot and killed another 14 year old in the hallway at school (funeral was today) and now this woman flies off the rails. It's like I'm living in an alternate reality.

    Unfortunately, the man quoted above lost his wife. His daughter was interviewed by one of the local news channels earlier this afternoon before they'd learned the identities of the victims. She was standing outside trying to get information and got the call to go to the hospital during the news broadcast.

    Here's a link to local coverage.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
    Beefcake likes this.
  3. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing uyeahu. What an awful tragedy for the families, school, and community :(.
  4. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

  5. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    How awful. Something similar happened in Montreal in 1992 (a professor shooting colleagues over an academic dispute), and it really is scary, in an occupation that's supposed to be civil and collegial.

    MOIJTO Banned Member

    With the pressure that exists in the world today for people this is something that I feel we will hear more of. Its very sad to me.
  7. NinjaTurtles

    NinjaTurtles Teenage Mutant

    Eys. Many departments in larger research institutions have reputations of back stabbing and sabotage between colleagues and graduate students, apparently due to the pressure to reach tenure and publish. Scary stuff.
  8. Bandana

    Bandana Banned Member

    I agree Moijto. Academia is extremely cutthroat, nasty, and filled with jealousy and bitterness. I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often. I'd bet for every prof passed over who actually does pull out the gun there are a hundred that want to but think the better of it.
  9. duane

    duane Well-Known Member

    So, this woman shot and killed her brother in an "accidental" shooting 24 years ago? Makes one now wonder if it were truly accidental.
  10. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member


    The police chief ordered her release before she could be arrested, and the files have now disappeared. Hmm.....
  11. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    ^ OMG
  12. uyeahu

    uyeahu Agitator. Sharpie lover (figuratively speaking).

    The Boston Globe has a lot more details on the matter..

  13. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Awful. :( I have a friend who teaches English there. She's shaken and upset, but safe, thank God.
  14. lulu

    lulu New Member

    What a horrible tragedy. :(
  15. susan6

    susan6 Well-Known Member

    The tenure process is extremely stressful, and given the fact that this woman seems to have been mentally unstable to begin with (her mom totally got her off the hook for shooting her brother), an unfavorable tenure vote pushing her over the edge is not all that surprising.

    Some details are a little confusing. She's 45, so it would seem she didn't follow the traditional "grad school-postdoc-assistant prof" career path which has you going up for tenure in your mid to late 30's. Either she had several long postdocs (possibly an indicator of trouble), or she had a previous professorship at another university and that didn't work out (also possibly indicating problems). There's the fact that she got her degree at Harvard and wound up in Alabama. There's the coworker indicating she's not as good as she thinks she is and doesn't have a grip on reality. It definitly sounds like she was harboring some serious delusions and couldn't handle the harsh reality of the tenure vote.

    (That's another weird thing....I was under the impression that the tenure process at most universities starts in spring/summer, the candidate submits their tenure binder in summer or early fall, the department sends the information out and asks for external letters of recommendation to arrive at the end of summer or early fall, and the tenure vote in the department is in Fall. Why was this tenure meeting in February?)
  16. Yehudi

    Yehudi Snarks about Volchkova with love

    It's possible she could have worked in the private sector before pursuing her PhD. My former boss was 32 when she decided to get a PhD in survey research.
  17. ssminnow

    ssminnow Active Member

    Academic jobs are incredibly competitive. I am currently in a PhD program at a prestigious university, and I can tell you first hand that if I would be very lucky if in 10 years I am still in academia at all.

    R.I.P. the victims of this tragedy.
  18. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    One of the articles mentions that the faculty meeting had nothing to do with tenure. She was turned down for tenure last spring. UoA has a rule that you can't stay longer than 6 years if you don't make tenure, and this was her last semester as it's her 6th year. She was out of a job come May.

    It's also come out that she didn't have a permit for the gun. Interesting. It's looking more and more premeditated IMO. But we'll see.

    There's some speculation that she thought (wrongly or rightly) that the school was going to claim rights to the cell invention and cheat her. It's also been hinted that she got turned down for tenure because she too difficult to work with.

    I'm dying to find out more about the 80s death, especially coming on the heel of the Kerrigan death. I grew up in the area, and I don't know anyone who tried to get their kid off for killing another family member, now it's 2 in one week. Even if you convince yourself that 2 lives need not be ruined, how could you ever face that person again?
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  19. Michalle

    Michalle New Member

    The Kerrigan thing is a somewhat more ambiguous situation though.
  20. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

    Most universities (that I know of) have the same policy. If you are denied tenure, you may not find out until the spring. When a candidate actually finds out depends on what level they are denied at, e.g., department, school, provost, trustees, and how communicative the administration is regarding the results. I've heard of cases where the candidate didn't make it out of the department in the fall, but wasn't notified of that until the spring, so this person thought their case was still making its way up the administrative ladder.

    Anyway, finding out in the spring that you've been denied tenure makes it hard to find a job starting in August or September. So you are allowed to stick around for another academic year. Most people don't like to do that though, since it can be awkward. But sometimes people have no choice (the academic job market is not so great these days).
  21. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

  22. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Unbelievable! What's next, we find out she killed Kennedy?
    Veronika and (deleted member) like this.
  23. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    From the link above:
    I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to plead insanity.
  24. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    I would only be surprised if they DON'T plead insanity at this point. The question is, is she really insane or just smart enough to play it that way?
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  25. mrr50

    mrr50 Well-Known Member

    There is an ABC interview on googles news summary that includes quotes from her father-in-law that makes him sound as if he is trying to justify what she did. He wants to know 'who the protagonist in that room was'.
  26. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    ^ can you provide a link, I can't find it?

    I would say from this article that the FIL is trying to protect his son and the husband is doing Bishop no favors blabbing to the press potentially incriminating stuff. Sounds like they are trying to distance themselves from "Prof Crazy". Jerks.

    Not that I'd do such a thing, but I'd hope MrBG would be a little supportive.
  27. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    and things get better

    p.s. Another source says the fast-food place was an i-hop
  28. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

    Bishop killed three people and wounded three more. One of the three people who were wounded is currently in neuro-intensive care with what is thought to be significant brain damage. Another person is still in surgical intensive care. I don't see why her husband and FIL need to be supportive of her at all.

    She also pointed and shot the gun at one of her work collegues who was trying to push her out of the room. The only reason this person was not shot and or killed is because she ran out of bullets.

    I don't know if Bishop is crazy or not, but what she did was horrendous.

    Forgive me if I sound harsh and judgemental, but I live in the community where this happened; it hits very close to home. So many lives have been forever changed by this woman's disregard for human life.
  29. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    She will be judged soon enough.

    What she did was awful. There are witness, and thankfully, survivors.

    Her husband blabbing to the press helps no one.

    Everyone needs support. Did you ever see "dead man walking"? I said support, not forgiveness. Her husband keeping his stupid mouth shut doesn't hurt the victims or their families. If he wants to help, he can talk to the police, not the press.

    Any efforts to distance themselves publicly are self serving, and not a benefit to the community.
  30. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member