Friday, December 12, 2008

"Keep Wiseman," 1969

I just learned that my colleague John Wiseman, emeritus professor of history at Frostburg State University, once was a cause celebre. In his latest Cumberland Times-News op-ed piece, he writes, "My teaching career began at Keene State College," but adds that his tenure there "was shortened by a protracted battle I experienced with the president of that school, one that I lost, along with my job."

He's not kidding. This article in the summer 2008 issue of the Keene State alumni magazine, a nostalgic look back at the campus in the 1960s, includes a photo of a crowd of students who "boycotted classes on behalf of faculty member John Wiseman." Beneath the headline "Convocation on the Wiseman Case, 1969," the article elaborates:
[President Roman "Jay"] Zorn's conflict with one faculty member, John Wiseman, began as a disagreement over salary and evolved into major student demonstrations on behalf of Wiseman, whose contract was not renewed for a third year. The Board of Trustees eventually supported the administration's decision, but a Faculty Evaluation Advisory Committee was created to advise the Dean on tenure/promotion decisions.
I wish I had one of those "Keep Wiseman" buttons.

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