By Emma Davenport ’10

“Bernard Moore has easily been the preeminent academician in, and has added immeasurably to, the strength of the Political Science department at this College for the past year… Professor Moore’s consistently high student ratings, his acclaim and scholarly distinction speak volumes in testifying to his pedigree as an educator.” ~Rhassan

While I respect your comments regarding the inspiration Moore is for you, the two statements of yours that I quoted above really question your credibility on this. You don’t have to ask a student who disapproved of him as a professor to be appalled by those statements. Scholarly distinction? Preeminent academician? Pedigree as an educator? I understand that he wrote a powerful bill, and has done scores for those individuals (and society who benefits from not having a consistently imprisoned population). He deserves props for that. That said, that doesn’t make him an academic and it doesn’t make him a great educator – the latter the most important for me at Williams. Could you show us some of his published articles in political science magazines, get some colleagues of his in academia who agree with your statement, or maybe show us any sort of recognition he has ever had for being a so called amazing educator?

You have reminded me, Rhassan, that I am airing certain grievances though they are by no means personal. If I had never taken a class, I wouldn’t care. Instead I would probably wonder what could have driven him pathologically to for twenty years lead a life of lies and fraudulent behavior. I would feel more sorry for him. And that is the job for someone. Someone who doesn’t know him in the educational context. But mine is to say it straight. So far every other student who has aired an opinion of him on either wso or ephblog has come to the opposite conclusion of you Rhassan. I’ve talked to others in person who would prefer to be on the DL. Can you bring some more evidence or voice to the table to corroborate your extra high assessment of him as an academic and an

We have an amazing institution and brilliant, talented, and caring faculty at Williams. That’s why I’m complaining about this professor. If anything, I hope Williams just sees this as more reason to ensure they hire or re-hire someone who convincingly shows that they are interested in their students LEARNING.

From Will: I’m quoting all other ephblog comments from students in the extended post:

He’s too new to be on factrack, but the reports are accurate. He spent most of his time in DC, away from his students. An interaction I had with him last semester – in his Judicial Politics class, he had a final paper (15 pages) that was worth 40% of he course. I turned it in, and had a conversation with him afterward, in which he confirmed that he had ‘decided” to give me an A 2 weeks prior, and was not going to be reading my paper at all.

Another anecdote:
We were preparing for our Moot Court, and he asked us to explain how the selection of judges to the 9th circuit or something worked. We, having learned NOTHING over the course of the semester, had no good answer for him. He exclaimed, “But this is a judicial politics course!” as though by virtue of the course’s title we would have absorbed the information without him having imparted any knowledge.

Unfortunately, he gave out great grades, so students gave him so incredible evaluations. Sad.

PSCI Major II:
I don’t know about that. I’m under the impression (as well as many others I’ve talked to) that Williams only kept him around because of his ability to get important people on campus.

I was assigned to Moore’s section in my “Intro to American Poltics” class. During the first class, he was so horrible that at least half of the class walked out during the first half hour. I stuck around for one more class, realized the first class was not a fluke, walked out and switched into another professor’s section. He was truely the worst Professor I had ever been in contact with at Williams.

I had a somewhat more complicated experience with the man than those stated above.

To be sure, he was one of the single most disorganized, scatterbrained professors I have ever had at any level–when I got one of the book reviews back (one I’d put a fair amount of work into), he returned only the first of the 4 pages with no comments beyond the grade, and didn’t seem aware that there had been any more to it. I never heard anything at all about the 20pg. final paper I turned in. In class, he had a tendency to divert away from the main topic and have us talk about the election instead. So he was not, by any estimation, a particularly good prof.

With all that said, I did interact with him a fair amount outside of class and he was by no means a bad guy. For one thing, he did clearly know his shit–he seemed to take his legislative job seriously enough, at least, to know the intricate details of all the legislation moving in congress at any given point. He was friendly, at least to me, and he did go out of his way to say when he thought you were making a good contribution to class, and the chance to interact with the CBC members was really pretty incredible. Furthermore, whatever you think of the man (and right now, I am pretty angry at him), the Second Chance Act was a good and important piece of legislation.

None of that, though, excuses the kind of fraud he was engaged in. He espoused good ideals when I talked to him, but clearly he was at his core a pretty flagrant hypocrite, particularly in that he spent so much of his time arguing that criminals could be rehabilitated, even as he continued to commit crimes himself.

Moore was BY FAR the worst “teacher” that I have ever had during my Williams career. Despite receiving an A (I too was told ahead of my gigantic final research paper that he would not read it and that I would get an A anyway) I wrote a scathing review for the PSCI department. I also took my complaints to Professors in the department but got little sympathy from them.

Moore had NO INTEREST in teaching us anything at all and spent more time recounting the “very close friendship” that he has with Barack Obama and telling us all about how Obama, Pelosi, Reid and every Supreme Court Justice who has ever served where going to come visit campus “in the next few months.” He would them other thinly veiled excuses for why his “close friends” did not come. I actually had a conversation with a student in our class about the possibility that Moore was an obsessive compulsive liar – which now seems to make a lot of sense.

One terrifying anecdote: During the semester we were supposed to do two “book reports,” each wroth a good proportion of our grade. I handing both of mine in early in the semester to get it out of the way and ACTUALLY put work into them because at that point I didn’t understand how useless he was as a professor. I got them both back (graded and clearly unread) and thought nothing else about it. In the last day of the semester (when I could easily have been out of town) I received a very scary and formal email from him saying that I was missing an assignment and that I should see him promptly to avoid failing the class. I, of course, FREAKED OUT… went running over to his office, terrified and near tears, worried that his gross incompetence was about to earn me a failing grade. I had, fortunately, emailed myself the paper to print at the being of the semester so I showed it to him in my email files, which shows the date sent to be printed. He basically responded with a shrug saying “well if I never got it…” to which I responding saying that he had actually handed it back to me with a grade on it! He basically told me there was nothing that I could do. I left in tears. About an hour later he emailed me a one sentence long note saying that he realized that he had made a mistake and that he found the record of my paper. I’ve never forgiven him for this.

Williams College is supposed to be about offering quality TEACHING over all else. I feel that I was deprived of part of my Williams education by being in that class and the A in no way makes me feel better about this loss. The fact that we was allowed to remain after students evaluated him the first semester SHOCKS and saddens me.


I took his class in the Spring last year. I only took it because it looked like it might be relevant to my post Williams life. I agree with Emma on this one. He was completely inept, and the entire class would often make fun of him before and after class. I remember that specific instance in which he said “This is a judicial politics class,” as if he expected us to learn from some sort of osmosis. I routinely kept track of the amount of times he was on his blackberry during class. I assigned 1 point for each time he was checking it/typing away on it and 2 points for every 30 seconds he was talking to someone. I still have the notebook in which he once got 20 points on that rudimentary scale. This should point to the complete lack of meaningful discussion and teaching. Everyone I talked to wrote scathing reviews of his performance, and absolutely nobody respected him as a teacher. He had no lesson plan, and the amount of laptops that students brought to class increased exponentially as the semester progressed. Obviously they were just doing crosswords, playing boggle, and watching youtube videos. It was quite obvious he was only kept around for his connections to the political world.

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