If I were a lawyer for the College, I would not like this news release.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Sept. 6, 2006 – Williams College has announced the appointment of the following assistant professors to tenure track positions:

Shannon L Bryant, assistant professor of physical education. Bryant received her B.A. in organizational behavior and management from Brown University in 1994 and her Master of Sports Science in sports coaching from the United States Sports Academy in 2005. She has coached ice hockey at Hamilton College and with the Seattle Junior Hockey Association.

Erica R. Edwards, assistant professor of African American studies. Edwards received her B.A. in English and Spanish from Spelman College in 1999 and her Ph.D. in literature in 2006. Her teaching interests include, among others, African American literature, contemporary Black popular culture, and critical theories of race and gender. Her doctoral dissertation is titled “Contesting Charisma: Political Leadership in Contemporary African American culture.”

I have nothing against Bryant, Edwards or any of the other newly hired faculty. Good luck to them all! The issue here, related to the David Barnard situation, is that Bryant (a coach) is being treated exactly the same as Edwards (a professor). Both or in the same news release, both are described a “tenure track,” both are listed as “assistant professors.”

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. The exact tenure status of athletic faculty is not spelled out (anywhere that I can find) on the Williams website. But, if the College is, in an official news release, refers to Bryant as “tenue track” than someone like Barnard must also have been “tenure track” at some point. And, “tenure track” must lead somewhere, presumably to tenure or at least the athletic department equivalent thereof.

And, as we learned from Aida Laleian, tenured faculty don’t get fired.

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