Harvard Ethos: Insanity?


So Amy Bishor’s defense is likely to be some form of insanity defense:

Huntsville attorney Roy Miller sat down with WHNT NEWS 19 just minutes after visiting Bishop at the Huntsville Metro Jail. He revealed some startling new details about the case that has grabbed national headlines.

“I just think the case speaks for itself,” said Miller, when asked about Bishop’s mental state. “I think she’s wacko.”

Inside Higher Ed suggests that wackiness comes from her Harvard education:

The lawyer for Amy Bishop told the Associated Press Thursday that she probably is insane and does not remember the shootings in which she is accused of murdering three of her biology faculty colleagues last week at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. The lawyer called Bishop “very cogent” in their discussions, but also said that she has difficulties with reality, and he suggested that her actions last week were due in part to being denied tenure, after receiving a Harvard University education. ”Obviously she was very distraught and concerned over that tenure…. It insulted her and slapped her in the face, and it’s probably tied in with the Harvard mentality. She brooded and brooded and brooded over it, and then, ‘bingo.’ ”

Of course, anyone who “after receiving Harvard education” does not get his/her way in life is justified in retaliating in whatever way they can against such society – case closed!

The Chronicle’s Take on the Shooting


Some more details of the shooting are coming out, but some of the comments to the CHE article are sort of bizarre. Plus the front matter leans toward the interpretation that tenure denial was the main trigger point while offering advice:

That essay – Commentary: How To Handle Tenure Denial – should be very short: Do No Shoot Anybody!

Familiar Storyline.


Surprise, surprise – she was crazy all along – no other questions need to be asked:

The revelations about the past of the biology professor accused of shooting three colleagues to death at the University of Alabama Friday are stacking up by the day.

First came the news that the professor, Amy Bishop, shot and killed her teenage brother in suburban Boston under hazy circumstances in 1986. Then that she was investigated in 1993 in an attempted mail bombing of a Harvard professor who was evaluating her work as a postdoc.

While much is still not known in the case, all the facts seem to be pointing to one question: how did a person with such a troubled past appear, from the outside, to have been carrying on a successful, normal life?

Case closed.

Shooting For Tenure


I know, I know, but bear with my horrible double-entendre. New York Times has some details about Amy Bishor’s saga. Apparently, she was denied tenure, appealed, won the appeal and then was not tenured anyway (provost’s decision). Again, nothing justified shooting your colleagues in retaliation, but hopefully this story will bring some of the tenure procedures to the public attention:

Mr. Anderson said that months ago, the university administration overruled a successful appeal of the decision to deny Dr. Bishop tenure in spring 2009.

“She won her appeal,” he said, “and the provost canned it.”

The university has declined to elaborate on the details of Dr. Bishop’s tenure application, saying only that she was denied last spring and that she could stay at the university only until the end of this academic year. Even if a faculty member successfully appeals a tenure denial, the final decision rests with the administration.

So this “final decision rests with the administration” part deserves more attention, I think.