On Monday the Daily Free Press, an independent student newspaper at Boston University, broke this story:
COM prof. abandons class to promote book, officials, students say
Pulitzer Prize winner and renowned author Isabel Wilkerson has not fulfilled her requirements as a College of Communication professor and a member of the Boston University faculty-in-residence program despite her relatively high professor’s salary and other benefits, BU students and faculty said.
The issues this semester regarding Wilkerson began when she started canceling classes to promote “The Warmth of Other Suns,” an acclaimed book about the Great Migration of African Americans in the 20th century, students said. Wilkerson began to cancel classes two weeks into the semester to attend these engagements.
In an Oct. 13 email sent to her newswriting students, Wilkerson said she would not be teaching her class for several weeks “due to a scheduling conflict.” Wilkerson never returned.
Much to the dismay of not only the sandbagged students, but sandbagged journalism chair Bill McKeen and sandbagged COM dean Tom Fiedler.
(Full disclosure: I’m a mass communication professor at BU, not affiliated with the journalism department.)
On Tuesday, the Boston Globe Names column ran this item:
Isabel Wilkerson book tour is a blow to BU
The enormous success of “The Warmth of Other Suns’’ has been very good for its author, Isabel Wilkerson, but not so great for her students at Boston University. Because she’s so busy promoting the critically acclaimed book, Wilkerson has managed to miss most of the semester – she began canceling classes two weeks into the semester – and is now on unpaid leave through 2012. “This transcends your normal book, yes,’’ Bill McKeen, chairman of the journalism department at BU, told us yesterday. “But if this was going to be a problem, why didn’t I find out in July when [Wilkerson] was assigned to teach the class. This came as a surprise to the students and to me.’’
What comes as a surprise to the hardworking staff is the Globe’s abject failure to credit the Daily Free Press as the source for its pick-up.
Hey, Namesniks: The freeping Freep broke this story. Credit where credit’s due, yeah?