Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Tenure Terror: The Case of Amy Bishop

The Feb. 12 incident was tragic and bizarre enough: three professors were killed and several others wounded at a University of Alabama faculty meeting after another professor allegedly opened fire with a handgun. But the suspect, Amy Bishop, who had a Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard and taught biology at the Huntsville branch of the university, had a background that was even more startling. In 1986, she killed her brother Seth in a Massachusetts shotgun incident that was ruled an accident. In 1993, she was questioned after Dr. Paul Rosenberg, who had been her supervisor when she worked at the neurobiology lab at Children's Hospital Boston, received two pipe bombs. Rosenberg had reportedly given her a negative work evaluation. Bishop denied the allegations, and in the end was not charged. The University of Alabama apparently knew nothing of the previous charges when it hired Bishop, but it did decide to deny her tenure in March 2009. After the Huntsville shooting, Bishop was charged with one count of capital murder and three of attempted murder. Four months later, Massachusetts authorities reopened her brother's case and indicted her for his murder.