Tenure tragedy

Having written about tenure recently, I wanted to comment on the tragic events at University of Alabama, which initial reports say had to do with Amy Bishop’s learning that she was denied tenure.

There are tragedies within tragedies on top of tragedies in this case. In no particular order —

  • the three faculty members Bishop is said to have killed leave behind families and students who will grieve for them
  • the discoveries these scientists will never make
  • the children of Amy Bishop and her husband, who will endure shame, fear, loss
  • the discoveries Bishop herself will not make; she was apparently quite a brilliant scientist
  • Bishop seems to have been a disturbed person; was she ever seen by a mental health professional? Could she have been helped?

I heard faculty joking about this case today. Callousness, or whistling past the graveyard? We live in a dangerous world.

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