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Moore Locked Out Of Office; Still Paid

According to a reliable source, the College changed the locks on Moore’s faculty office and removed his nameplate from the door on Room 227 Schapiro Hall on November 11. Alas, the source did not send pictures! Assignment to our on-campus staff photographers.

It may be much harder fire Moore than I initially suspected. Consider the Faculty Handbook:

Termination of an appointment with continuous tenure, or of a non-tenured appointment before the end of the specified term, may be effected by the College upon due notice but only for adequate cause. The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the College and shall be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence in the record considered as a whole.

Might want to rephrase that someday! For now, Williams is stuck with the process that it has.

Should the cause alleged be that of serious shortcomings on the part of a faculty member in the discharge of his or her professional duties (termination thus constituting dismissal), the dismissal must be preceded by the following procedures: (1) discussions between the faculty member and the President of the College with the aim of arriving at a mutual settlement; (2) an informal inquiry by the Committee on Appointments and Promotions, which may, failing to effect an adjustment, determine whether in its opinion formal dismissal proceedings should be undertaken, without its opinion being binding upon the President; (3) a statement of charges, framed with reasonable particularity by the President.

Has the “statement of charge” been written yet? Send EphBlog a copy!

A dismissal (as defined above) will be preceded by a statement of reasons, and the faculty member concerned will have the right to be heard initially by a hearing committee that will consist of three members drawn from the Faculty Steering Committee and, if fewer than three members of that Committee are eligible, from the Faculty Review Panel. Any member of the Faculty Steering Committee or the Faculty Review Panel potentially affected by bias or interest may be deemed ineligible at the member’s own initiative. Either of the two parties to the case may also request that a proposed member of the hearing committee be deemed ineligible because of potential bias or interest.2 In addition, each party may without stated cause exclude a maximum of one person otherwise eligible for the hearing committee. Should these or other constraints make it impossible to convene a full hearing committee, the Faculty Steering Committee may draw hearing committee members from previous Steering Committees or Faculty Review Panels.

This could take forever! Endless further details here. Best part:

Pending a final decision by the hearing committee, the faculty member will be suspended, or assigned to other duties in lieu of suspension, only if immediate harm to the faculty member or others is threatened by continuance. Before suspending the faculty member, the President will consult with the Committee on Appointments and Promotions concerning the propriety, length, and other conditions of the suspension. Salary will continue during the period of suspension.

Emphasis added. Your alumni donations at work.

UPDATE: See the comments for informed thoughts and better links.


Holder Praised Moore?

On WSO, Faisal Khan writes:

correct me if i’m mistaken matt, but irony of ironies i do remember us sitting in the audience this summer as the attorney general of the united states praised moore for his work…wow i really bet this script could sell in hollywood

Indeed. But is it really true that Attorney General Eric Holder praised Professor (for now) Bernard Moore? Can anyone find more detail about that? I would love to see some video . . .


Catch Mr. Bernard Moore: Legal Documents

Here are the two key documents from the legal case against Professor Bernard Moore: Statement of Facts ECF and Plea Agreement ECF If you are a reporter from the Record, Eagle or Transcript who uses these documents, or any other material from EphBlog, you ought to cite us. Much of this material was already covered here. Highlights:

1) Moore was informed in July 2007, two months before he started at Williams, that he was the target of a “criminal investigation involving student aid fraud.” Since that time, he has paid back the Department of Education over $70,000.

2) Moore has been running various con games for many, many years. What other Ephs have as impressive a criminal record? (And, yes, because Moore was on the faculty at Williams, EphBlog will always consider him a member of the Williams community. Once an Eph, always an Eph.) Here is a summary of his credit card scamming.


It is not clear if he ever used a Williamstown address for these activities.

3) Moore only began working in Congress in 2005. He started his Ph.D. program at Howard in the fall of 2004, meaning that he had only been enrolled for 3.5 years when Williams offered him a position.

4) Moore was fraudulently obtaining student loans as late as 2008.

5) Moore is looking at three years in prison plus a fine between $6,000 and $60,000. Unresolved is the issue of what restitution, if any, Moore needs to pay.

What other highlights do readers see?


More on Moore, and My Take

First, it should be noted that Moore’s plea in 1987 to credit card fraud may not have constituted the extent of his illicit activities. The plea might have allowed him to escape more serious charges on his record, which would be why the maximum sentences are so much lower this time around, though more money is involved. On a purely curious level, I’m very interested in what he was doing prior to getting his Master’s. Was all of this an effort to help his past self of 20 years ago? Did he see problems when in custody that motivated him to pursue this degree? I don’t know. In fact, we can’t be sure of anything from before 2003, except for his legal record and illegal activities.

Second, Moore was a polarizing figure on campus. Some people liked him; others did not. Most importantly, the line between these two groups wasn’t racial. In my view, it was based on one’s personal experience, which widely varied. For me personally, Moore was a good guy. He gave lots of advice on how DC worked, and answered my questions for a long time, even when I was just stopping by. I don’t know what his motive was for doing so, but he treated me with respect. I will also admit that I looked to him for possible DC connections, though unlike other students, I did not benefit from those connections. In the many conversations I’ve had about this in the past two days, I’ve heard again and again that here, he brought something unique to the table, relative to other Williams professors, and people valued that.

Third, the above does not excuse him of being a poor teacher, but as comments from other posts have shown, visiting professors are not always good teachers. In fact, I had a poor experience myself freshman year, and students often advise each other to avoid visiting professors. Williams is such a place where there are bad and easy classes. Oftentimes, the students who want them end up in them. While this is an academic institution, students here challenge themselves in a myriad of ways, and Williams values that. We seek a social life, community, involvement, excellence in sports, excellence in the performing arts, and more. These other commitments can sometimes be greater than the aggregate of all of one’s classes. Ask any theater performer here about tech-week. If that diversity of interests is, in its nature, counter to the best possible education, then Williams has chosen to sacrifice that purely educational experience for some students. Importantly, other students here do have a purely academic experience that works wonderfully for them. But ultimately, if a student chooses to go through Williams taking all easy classes, that’s their choice, and I would argue against any attempt to manage our courses beyond what currently exists. For example, I think this blog and its commentators educate me in a way that is unique from my classes.

Fourth, we have to separate Moore’s academic work from his professionally criminal behavior. The two are distinct, but people as using the latter to criticize the former. It just happens that in this case, complaints about Moore’s teaching style are much more difficult to defend, given the fact that he was stealing money while in Williams’s employ. That he betrayed us does not mean that anyone can draw conclusions about his worth as an academic. It does mean that we should examine his past degrees and history, to see what is true. It also means that any discussion of bad teaching at Williams, in this context, is going to be unfair. That may be desired by some of the people who were rightly upset about his teaching (I can corroborate most all of the negative comments), but this isn’t the right place. Nor would it be fair to use this moment as the context for a discussion about hiring and race. The deck is stacked.

Lastly, I think his presence on campus detracted from the value of my degree, that his hiring made a farce of Williams’s focus on teaching ability, and that even bringing Pelosi (which he mentioned, as well as Valerie Jarrett) would not have changed the first two statements. However, for many students, that was enough, and they are free to decide their own priorities. Williams is a place of diverse opinions, and I have hugely benefited from them in the past 36 hours. I will post any other letters from Wagner as they come.


Picture of Moore and Scandal Name/Song

mooreFirst, this is the only picture of Professor Bernard Moore that I have been able to find. (He is on the left. Source is Williams Record.) A Williams faculty member suggested to me that Moore may have actually avoided having pictures of himself taken (e.g., here) because he was concerned that someone might recognize him and, thereby, discover his various frauds. Can anyone point to other photos?

Second, can we settle on a scandal name and graphic, as we did for Nigaleian, Mary Jane Hitler and Willy E. N-word? See this morning’s discussion. Leading suggestion (with two votes!) seems to be “Catch Moore If You Can.” (Hat tip to Batman.) (The graphics possibilities are fun.) Moore’s cyclist hobby might prove relevant. I wish that there were some way to incorporate his lousy teaching and suspect academic work, but there is only so much we can squeeze into a scandal name. Moore is, obviously, the Leonardo DiCaprio character in the movie poster. But who is chasing him? Ephraim Williams? EphBlog? A purple cow? Give us your suggestions in the comments.

Third, Jeff has produced the perfect scandal song, based on Mrs. Robinson.

And here’s to you, Mr. Bernard Moore
Williams loved you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)
Falk bless you please, Mr. Bernard Moore
Williams held a place for those who stray
(Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

We failed to know a little bit about you for our files
Forgot to help us learn about yourself
Look around you, hardly any sympathetic eyes
Please depart the grounds and head back home

And here’s to you, Mr. Bernard Moore
Williams loved you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)
Falk bless you please, Mr. Bernard Moore
Williams held a place for those who stray
(Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes
Put it in your bank with your false gains
It’s a little secret, just a faculty affair
Most of all, you’ve got to hide it from the kids

And here’s to you, Mr. Bernard Moore
Williams loved you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)
Falk bless you please, Mr. Bernard Moore
Williams held a place for those who stray
(Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

Sitting in the Congress on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you’ve got to choose
Ev’ry way you look at it, you lose

Where have you gone, James McGregor Burns
A college turns it’s lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)
What’s that you say, Mr. Bernard Moore
McGregor Burns has left and gone away
(Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

But, with his permission, I think that we could improve the lyrics a bit by incorporating some more specific references to his various Williams activities. The chorus and the last stanza are perfect.

UPDATE: I only just realized how much of a genius Jeff is! Mrs. Robinson is, of course, appeared in the soundtrack of The Graduate, which was based on the book by Charles Webb ’61. We can combine this song with the slogan by just having it as “Catch Mr. Bernard Moore.” Thoughts? Assignment for better lyrics goes to Seth Brown ’01 of Rising Pun.

Below the break is the full Record article on Moore from October 29, 2008. (The Record archives are busted, so this was retrieved from the Google cache.) The article meets the Record‘s usual high standards in terms of investigative reporting. (Read: My daughter’s middle school paper produces harder-hitting copy.)
Read more


Only For Another Year

An anonymous Williams professor writes:

Here’s stuff you probably already know. In my department, standard operating procedure for hiring a visitor would vary depending on the origin of the position. If, say, Professor X went on leave and the college gave us the go-ahead to replace his slot, it would usually be wholly in the hands of the chair to find a suitable replacement and to vet his or her credentials. This procedure could well be as insular as the chair calling up some friends at graduate programs that have a strong scholarly presence in what Professor X does, and then bringing on an ABD grad student. This person’s CV might be circulated among the senior faculty of the department for them to sign off on it, but, basically, it’s a low commitment/low stress process. It won’t surprise you to hear that it’s also a process that is basically at chance in securing someone with any talent in teaching. National searches with interviews and job talks and all that stuff, however, is thought to be just too much of a pain to do for a one year visitor.

Another conduit for hiring visitors is where someone else at the college suggests someone to the department (and has already secured monies to foot the bill). I and the other senior members of the department would get to see his CV. That would be the extent of the vetting.

I have to think that Moore’s appointment was more like the second case than the first, i.e., I doubt that Cathy Johnson in Polisci went solo on a visitor search and simply presented Moore to the department. But that’s pure speculation on my part.

As far as reappointment, it doesn’t surprise me at all that he’d be reappointed if his student evaluation scores were anything but terrible. In my department it would go like this:

Chair: “We need to decide whether to recommend reappointment of X”
Member of the department: “How were his scores?”
Chair: “Fine, middlin’ in one class, okay in another.”
Member of the department: “I heard from some student that he is not very good, is disorganized, can’t lead a discussion, gives everyone A’s, etc.”
Chair: “Yeah, me too. But it’s only for another year and his overall scores are fine.”
Members of the department: “Fine, let’s move on.”

It is very unlikely that any members of my department would visit the class of a visitor, since, in the first year, the person is already there and whether he stays for a second year has to be decided quite early to get the curriculum and catalog settled. At best we would get information from the first half of the first semester of the visitor’s teaching, and a great deal of latitude is given that early on.

One take home message is that the hiring and reappointment of visitors is far less rigorous that hiring tenure track faculty.

1) How, precisely, did Moore first come to Williams? Who made that initial call? There must be some connection here, but I am having trouble finding it. One possibility is Bill Spriggs ’77, economics professor at Howard University. Professor Spriggs came to Howard in December 2005, which would have been right around the time that Moore would have been applying to Williams. Did they know each other? They were in different departments, but I don’t have a sense of how big Howard is.

Note that Spriggs will be appearing (still?) at Williams at the roundtable event that Moore organized. Spriggs has also kept in touch with folks at Williams over the years. He played the key role in bring students from Xavier to Williams in the aftermath of Katrina. Spriggs was won the “Congressional Black Caucus Chairman’s Award” in 2004. In fact, Spriggs is still listed in the CBC website as a “Department Chair,” whatever that is. Moore had excellent connections with the CBC.

2) Was the Political Science department advertising for an opening in 2007–2008? I can’t figure out an easy to look up this history. My sense is that there was not a specific opening that Moore applied for and, in competition with other applicants, received. Again, I think that someone made a call. My best guess right now would be Bill Spriggs. If so, who did he call at Williams?

3) As always, knowing the history of Williams pays off in our attempts to understand the present.

Bill Spriggs ’77, a former professor at a historically black university, brought to Schapiro the idea of reaching out to Xavier when the extent of the damage to New Orleans became clear.

“It struck me that Williams was uniquely positioned both in terms of resources and connections to offer a comprehensive answer, not just ‘we’ll take a student,’” said Spriggs, who served on the executive committee to redesign the Science Center. “The problem with [that approach] is that the students would be out of touch with their faculty. You just rip the whole program apart.”

So, Bill Spriggs felt comfortable reaching out to Morty is August of 2005. I bet that, if he knew about a charismatic, well-connected Ph.D. student like Bernard Moore, either via Howard or the Congressional Black Caucus, he would not have hesitated to give Morty a call two years later. The Record ought to contact both Spriggs and Schapiro. [Needless to say, this is all speculation on my part. I have no first-hand information about the process by which Moore came to Williams.]


From Davenport ’10, in response to Hill ’11, and others

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.


Stunningly Poor

An anonymous full professor at a peer institution writes:

The anonymous email from a professor concerning the abstract for Moore’s diss makes a good point; these are often dashed off (but it’s still stunningly poor). But regarding searches for visiting faculty, there is much variation. At my institution, only a very well known scholar (not just a well known person) would be hired in this way for a visiting stint. For our leave replacements, the chair and often the faculty member(s) most closely associated with the area come up with a short list. Inquiries are made about availability, references solicited, and then we invite our top choice to come give a sample lecture and class. Generally, that’s it. Sometimes the top choice is less than we’d hoped, so we invite the second person on the list.

So it’s true that this is handled much more casually than a TT search, but not –in my experience — quite so casually as the first prof’s response describes.

Regardless of whether the search is arduous or casual, there’s a second step — due diligence in the Dean’s office. Perhaps there is a mechanism for checking transcripts, etc. for new faculty that is not repeated for visiting faculty (especially those appointed above the assistant prof. level). Clearly there must be a way to close this loophole.

[I]t is NOT HARD to get profs to come to excellent and justly famous institutions. The idea (not least in the current market) that you have to lay aside your standards for visiting positions is nonsense. There are hordes of qualified people who would salivate at the thought of adding Williams to their CV. It’s true that it’s harder to get established scholars (who tend to have more settled lives). I should add to my previous post that we would be especially careful hiring those without significant teaching experience. And the idea that we would rely on teaching evaluations from some other place (they’re usually confidential anyway, and if held/distributed by the prof himself, no one would be interested).

But another way to approach this is to look at the issue of deference. In its understandble (and laudable, really) zeal to have well-known, well-connected people available to students, perhaps Williams (and I’m sure it’s not alone) lacks a clear procedure. Let’s say Barbara Ehrenreich or Dinesh D’Souza is willing to come teach at your college for a term. Step 2, you ask for their high school and college transcripts? Following this debacle, the clear answer is, yes, you do. But you can see the awkwardness of that transaction and imagine how people justify skipping it.

Any due diligence with regard to faculty appointments at Williams would probably fall on the shoulders of John Gerry, assistant dean of the faculty. Gerry is highly competent so I doubt that the fault is his. To the extent anything was checked, it would be his enrollment as a Ph.D. student at Howard or, maybe, his graduate degree from Claremont. Both of those would have checked out, I think. As best I can tell, Moore was using his “Bernard Glenn-Moore” alias (with its associated social security number, drivers license and so on) in all his Williams (and other academic) activities. So, all of that would have panned out.

How to improve the system going forward? Williams should post the writing samples submitted by all faculty hires. This won’t catch everything, but I bet that it would have raised some eyebrows about Moore.

Others to question include Professor Cathy Johnson who was chair of the political science department in 2006-2007 (when Moore was hired) and Professor Bill Wagner as Dean of the Faculty. Again, these folks may have had nothing to do with Moore’s hiring and, in 2007-2008, his re-appointment. But this is where the Record should start.

UPDATE: Quote was missing last paragraph. Now fixed.


Not Up To Par

An anonymous professor of political science (not from Williams) writes:

Judging by what you described, Moore was a visiting professor, so a search committee is not the relevant standard. Most adjunct / visiting slots are filled by the department chair without consultation from the rest of the department. Colleges need courses taught, getting people to remote colleges to teach is difficult, and selections are usually made based off of glances through CV’s and calls to advisors. Writing samples are rarely requested or examined for visiting lines. Sylabii and teaching evaluations would weigh more heavily. Even an “endowed” visiting professor line probably works much less formally.

Would a search committee worth its salt seriously consider someone with an abstract written like Moore’s? It depends. If the rest of his writing samples were equally poor, then no. Not even close. But if the cover letter and writing samples were reasonable, then the abstract wouldn’t stop anyone. Dissertations are often rushed at the last minute and abstracts are written at the very end. So it would not be unusual for someone to spend 5 minutes writing an abstract as they rush to the printer to meet the deadline. When I submited my dissertation, I was embarrassed to hand it in at 9am on the day it was due. The dean who accepted it said that 75% of dissertations came on the last day and 75% of those came in during the last hour.

But you are correct that the quality of writing in that paragraph is not up to par.

1) Did Moore submit a writing sample when he applied to Williams?

2) Will the College release that writing sample when it concludes its investigation? Williams ought to. The best way to regain trust is to be as transparent as possible about how this disaster happened. The College ought to provide the Williams community with every detail of the process by which Moore came to Williams.


Hill ’11, in Defense of Moore

By: Rhassan Hill
rlh1 (at) williams (dot) edu

My name is Rhassan Hill ‘11. I am a student and long-time friend of Professor Moore as well as a participant in Bernard Moore’s Fall ‘09 class, Black Leadership. I took a few moments tonight to speak with my friend Professor Moore, and will be the first to speak up in his defense.
Firstly, I’d like to say that Bernard Moore is a great inspiration to students of color on this campus, in particular black males. As the author of the Second Chance Act, signed into law by former President Bush, the organizer of such forums as the Congressional Black Caucus event last year, and the upcoming Black Leadership forum, 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.

The quality of Professor Moore’s classroom instruction has been of the highest degree for the year I have known him. Anyone testifying to the contrary is either being disingenuous, airing personal grievances, or, worse, consciously perjuring this great man. I am willing to place my integrity as a member of the Williams community on the line in defense of the above statements, and will challenge, to the administration or otherwise, allegations to the contrary. Professor Moore’s consistently high student ratings, his acclaim and scholarly distinction speak volumes in testifying to his pedigree as an educator.

There is, at least in theory, a creed with regard to the Williams community that holds privacy in the highest esteem. I am outraged at the crass and blatantly intrusive behavior of some supposedly mature members of this community. As Professor Moore is not available to assert his right to privacy, I will assert it for him. Professor Moore, as a member of the Williams community, deserves his privacy. If members of the Williams community were to speak of me in the same way in which some community members have spoken of Professor Moore, I’d be enraged.

Before you rush to judgment regarding the allegations Professor Moore faces, I offer words of caution: Professor Moore’s support in the black community at Williams runs strong and deep. The African American community, and myself in particular, will not allow the lynching of Professor Moore’s reputation and racial insinuations readily appearing in commentary to continue. We will stand in his defense. I say this not in a partisan manner, but as someone who does not want to see this matter metamorphose into an open racial confrontation.

Lastly, Professor Moore has asked me to extend his thanks to those who stand in support of him. The matter has been greatly exaggerated by individuals not in the know, a tendency when people speak of matters in which they have no interest. I join supporters of Bernard Moore in extending well wishes to the individual responsible for a substantial portion of our personal and intellectual enrichment. If any of you will be in Washington over Thanksgiving break, Professor Moore invites you to contact him.

Rhassan Hill

Note from Will: If anyone wants to comment on this with a response post, e-mail me. Comments will NOT be blocked for this post.


Politico on Moore

Politico on Professor Bernard Moore.

A senior policy fellow for Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) has pleaded guilty to defrauding the government and private lenders of nearly $822,000 by using aliases to obtain student loans and more than 90 credit cards.

Ernest B. Moore, who went by Bernard Moore and Bernard Glenn-Moore on Capitol Hill, had a penchant for putting together events with marquee names — and a special legislative interest in sentencing issues and measures like the “Second Chance Act,” which is designed to help nonviolent offenders reabsorb into society.

“Who knew that he was writing that bill for himself?” quipped a former congressional aide who knows Moore.

Politico does not have a picture of Moore. Does anyone? Send a copy to eph at

His bio at Williams, where he was an assistant professor of political science, reads: “Moore is an academic researcher with an executive role in an important congressional office in Washington D.C. He is currently Senior Policy Advisor to Representative Danny K. Davis (7th District, Illinois), and he serves as the Congressman’s Representative to the Committee on Ways and Means. Among his responsibilities, Bernard Moore is the Congressman’s ‘pen,’ writing legislation, policy reports, floor statements, talking points, and letters to other members of Congress. He has built ties with individual members and coalitions with such organizations as the Democratic leadership, the Democratic Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus.”

The language is in tune with Moore’s sense of his place in the world, according to the source who knows him.

“He was very boastful about who he was,” the source said. “He was quiet, kind of awkward socially. When he did talk, though, it would be about all the great things he had done or would do.”

His bio is so poorly written that it appears to be a spoof of incompetent academics, just like his dissertation abstract.

Moore has spent his life focusing on a continuing self-educational approach that includes expanding awareness and understanding of the political spectrum by immersion into practical political affairs while simultaneously developing inquiry-based critical thinking skills designed to approach the research topics that most interest him, namely, legislative affairs, public law, racial disparities in federal sentencing, and Black Politics. He believes that communication, relationship building, and mentoring communication are key motivators for students in their quest for knowledge in academia.

The person who wrote those sentences is not smart enough to teach Williams students. Back to Politico:

Holder’s Justice Department has secured Moore’s guilty plea. And he faces up to 41 months in one of Lappin’s facilities if he receives a maximum sentence, according to a Justice Department press release. The losses to the government and private entities totaled at least $821,977.97, DOJ estimated.

And between 2003 and 2009, the court documents say, Moore obtained more than 90 credit cards and had outstanding balances of nearly $470,000 on them at the time of his plea.

Where is the money? Was Moore a big spender in Williamstown? I haven’t seen any discussion of restitution.

Note that the fraud continued while he was teaching at Williams.

Like Nigaleian, Mary Jane Hitler and Willy E. N-word, this scandal needs a name. And a graphic! Suggestions?


Moore’s Dissertation

Proquest provides this information (may require college/university ID) about Bernard Moore’s dissertation.

America’s race to incarcerate: Locking up communities of color
by Moore, Bernard, Ph.D., Howard University, 2009 , 304 pages; AAT 3350304
Abstract (Summary)

Research findings support the conclusion that incarceration in the United States has increased, and numbers of African-American male prisoners have increased. The problem is that it remains unclear whether mandatory sentencing acts have resulted in increased African-American prisoner status. The purpose of the study was to determine if mandatory minimum statutes and the United States Sentencing Guidelines based on the SRA and the PROTECT Act of 2003 have resulted in higher rates of African-American prisoners. Archival and survey research were used for this study to address relevant research questions and hypotheses. Archival data were from the BJS (2007), the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities (2007), and the USSC (2007). The survey sample consisted of 15 parole officers, 15 probation officers, and 30 prison officials from state and federal prisons. Findings were that no difference existed between African-American prisoner status due to sentencing laws alone and most hypotheses were not supported; only sexual abuse and drug trafficking led to significant findings. Survey findings supported the notion that many factors affect prisoner status.
Indexing (document details)

Advisor: Morris, Lorenzo, Frazier, Michael
Committee members: Davis, Donn, Woodard, Maurice, Davis, Danny K., Watson, Diane E.
School: Howard University
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States — District of Columbia
Keyword(s): Black politics, Judicial politics, Minimum mandatory, Racial disparity, Sentencing, Sentencing guidelines
Source: DAI-A 70/03, Sep 2009
Source type: Dissertation
Subjects: Political science, Criminology, Ethnic studies
Publication Number: AAT 3350304
ISBN: 9781109079852
Document URL:
ProQuest document ID: 1692529801


1) Can you spot the path which led this fraudster to Williams? I bet it starts with his academic connections . . .

2) Proquest reports that “At the request of the author, this graduate work is not available for purchase.” Can you guess why?

3) I cringed when I read that abstract. It is barely literate. I would do a sentence-by-sentence mocking, but the refereee would surely stop the fight in the first 50 words. My 8th grade daughter’s science experiment write-up is higher quality. Is this typical of the sort of work that earns a Ph.D. from Howard? No wonder that Williams does not have a single faculty member with a degree from there.

4) Love the fact that committee members included noted scholars like Diane Watson and Danny Davis.

5) What odds would you give on there being substantial fraud/plagiarism/incompetence in this dissertation? My guess: 50/50.

6) Do you think that Moore’s race — he is African-American — played a role in Williams’ decision to hire and reappoint him?


Fire Professor Bernard Moore Now

Williams should fire Professor Bernard Moore immediately: stop his paycheck, cancel his health insurance, kick him out of College housing, empty his office, ban him from campus.

First, by most accounts we have seen, he is a horrible professor, giving everyone is his class As, while not reading their work nor providing feedback. Second, he has produced no meaningful academic research of any sort. (No one will be surprised if we discover that his Ph.D. was plagiarized.) Third, and most importantly, he has pled guilty to fraud, including acts committed during his time at Williams. He is not fit to enter a Williams classroom.

Fortunately, the College has uncontested grounds on which to proceed. Moore claimed to Williams that he had a B.A. (1978) from the University of California, Los Angeles. (See page 349 of the course catalog: pdf). In his proffer to the court, Moore admits that he “has never received any undergraduate degree.” There are few worse sins in an academic community than lying about your educational credentials. Such a lie is cause for immediate dismal. There is no need for further investigation, for weighing the good that Moore has done in arranging campus events with the poor instruction that he has inflicted on his students. Every day that Moore stays on the College payroll, enjoys the use of a campus office and benefits from the resources of the Sawyer library — every day of delay sends a signal to the Williams community that academic honesty is optional.

This is the biggest test that Bill Wagner will face during his presidency. How will he do?

UDPATE: See the faculty handbook for details on the dismissal procedure. Depending on how intransigent Moore wants to make things, this could take a while. And, given that he is still being paid, why wouldn’t he drag it out?


Wagner on Moore

News Regarding a Visiting Faculty Member

To the Williams Community,

On Tuesday evening the College learned through a media report that someone named Ernest B. Moore had pleaded guilty in district court in the District of Columbia to charges of fraud.

Visiting Assistant Professor Bernard Moore confirmed to us that he was this person. We informed him that he was suspended from the College until we can understand the situation more fully.

The Political Science Department has an arrangement in place to provide instruction for the course he has been teaching this semester.

At this point, the Congressional Black Caucus Symposium, which he has helped to organize, will go ahead this Monday as planned.

In a tightly knit community such as ours, people are understandably eager to learn what they can about this developing situation. I will write to you again as more details emerge.

With regards,
Bill Wagner
Interim President


Students on Moore

I am curious to know what current students think of Professor Bernard Moore as member of the Williams faculty. Emma Davenport writes:

surprise surprise, the guy who doesn’t give a damn if we learn anything, who forces people to write “uncritical” book summaries, who implied that nobody had good motivations, and who stays in the room while we fill out our evaluations, also has few moral qualms about stealing money from the government, colleges, and banks. one more reason why Williams should not just hire someone because of connections, but make sure the person actually cares about teaching students – since that is an indication of SOME moral character. worst class of my williams career was last semester, but at least he gave straight As to the entire class. everybody knew he sucked but somehow he was re-hired.

from, a very frustrated student last spring who was reminded by this scandal. ;-)

Is Davenport’s description accuate? What did other students think of Moore as a professor in the classroom? Could someone please add his factrak evaluations in the comment thread?


From the Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia

Previous Ephblog coverage and Williams Record Coverage.

U.S. Department of Justice
Acting United States Attorney for the
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For Information Contact:
Monday, November 9, 2009 Public Affairs
(202) 514-6933

Williams College Professor and Policy Advisor Pleads Guilty to Multiple Fraud Schemes

WASHINGTON – Ernest Bernard Moore, an assistant professor at Williams College, visiting researcher at Yale Law School, and senior policy fellow for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, has pled guilty to one count each of Student Aid Fraud, Bank Fraud, and Social Security Representative Fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Mary Mitchelson, Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education (“DOED”), Jeffrey W. Irvine, Special Agent in Charge (“SAC”) of the Washington Field Office of the U.S. Secret Service (“USSS”), Patrick O’Carroll, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (“SSA”), Michael McGill, SAC, Philadelphia Field Division, Office of Investigations, Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”), and Phillip D. Morse, Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, announced today.

Moore, 51, of Washington, D.C. and Williamstown, Massachusetts, entered his guilty plea earlier today in U.S. District Court before the Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina. Moore is scheduled to be sentenced on February 17, 2010, and could face up to 41 months in prison under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines as a result of the guilty plea. According to the factual proffer agreed to by Moore, in 1985, Moore enrolled at the University of Southern California under the name Ernest Bouvier-Moore, an alias. Using this false name and a Social Security number that was assigned to an associate of Moore, “KM,” Moore applied for and received approximately $8,000 in federal student loan funds from the U.S. Department of Education. However, Moore defaulted on those loans and, to date, Moore has never repaid any part of those funds as he was required to do by the terms of the promissory note for that loan.

In 1993, Moore created a new identity for himself by obtaining a California driver’s license and a new Social Security number in the name of “Bernard Glenn-Moore.” In 2002, Moore used this false name and Social Security number to apply successfully for admission to Claremont Graduate University (“CGU”) in California to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Policy. Also using this false name and Social Security number, Moore applied for and received federal student aid in four disbursements totaling $37,000 for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 school years. In addition, Moore used this alias to apply for and receive four private student loans from Chase Bank USA, N.A. and Citibank USA, N.A. (“Citibank”) totaling $79,777 in the same years. During the same time period, Moore also used the alias “Bernard Moore” and the same false Social Security number to open with the Stanford Federal Credit Union two Echecking Accounts and a Student Savings Account and to apply for and receive two loans totaling $7,000. In applying for admission to CGU, Moore falsely stated, among other things, that he had received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1970 from the University of Puget Sound under the name KM (when, in fact, Moore’s associate KM had earned that degree and Moore has never received any undergraduate degree) and that “Tracy Cannady” was a reference (when, infact, that was another alias of Moore’s). In his applications for federal student aid, Moore falsely stated, among other things, that he had children he supported and that he had not previously defaulted on any federal student loan. In August 2004, Moore graduated from CGU, under his alias, with a Master of Arts degree in Politics.

There’s much more below. Total loss at least: $821,977.97. Read more


Updates re: Moore

From the Record:

Kolesar said the College only learned about the situation on Tuesday evening. The College had no knowledge of Moore’s prior convictions.

Moore has been unavailable for comment.


“From my standpoint the most important thing is that for the students in Political Science 303 [Black Leadership] there’s continuity one way or the other,” said Jim Mahon, professor and department chair of political science. “We’re coordinating that right now – it will continue as a college course and we’re working to make sure that it’s as good as it can be.” Mahon added that he and the department had no knowledge of Moore’s prior conviction and had only ever known him as Bernard, not Ernest, but that “it would be premature to characterize it as an alias,” he said.


Kolesar said it is unclear whether Moore’s suspension from the College will affect Monday’s panel, which includes Congressman John Conyers (Mich.) and activist and comedian Bill Cosby.

Check back throughout the day for further coverage.


Ernest Bernard Moore, Guilty of Fraud

Reporting from the Williams Record on this matter (will be updated later today).

UPDATE @ 10:16 AM – Quote from Jim Kolesar:
“The person Williams has known all along as Bernard Moore is suspended from the college until we can understand the situation more fully.”

This is very unwelcome news so close to next Monday’s event, which Professor Moore organized, but I feel more details would be helpful after Brian Shepard ’11 broke the news on WSO. I will be updating with additional information throughout the day. As the Record has real journalistic standards, please look to it for the most reliable information and the best reporting.

D.C. man admits to $800,000 in fraud – The Washington Post
An assistant professor at Williams College and visiting researcher at Yale University admitted in the District’s federal court this week that he defrauded banks, the federal government and credit card companies out of $800,000 in the past decade. […]

I have verified that Moore is a visiting scholar at Yale from his Africana Studies Bio. The information in the extended post shows that “Ernest Bernard Moore” also plead guilty to credit card fraud in 1987, and spent much of the 90’s doing appeals of that conviction. I have not definativily established that the person in the legal briefs below and the Williams professor are the same person; however all evidence points in that direction.
Read more


“Leadership in the Black Community”

Five members of the Congressional Black Caucus, a prominent African-American entertainer, and two African-American alums of Williams are coming to campus in a week for an event almost exactly one year after last fall’s CBC Roundtable.

The Participants are:

  • Andre Carson, the youngest Democratic member of the House and the second Muslim to serve in Congress, after Keith Ellison. He previously worked for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
  • John Conyers, the second longest serving incumbent Congressman, and is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
  • Danny Davis, a member of Congress since 1996, who also has the dubious honor of being considered by Rob Blagojevich as a possible replacement for President Obama. Bernard Moore, the event’s initiator, is a Senior Policy Adviser for Congressman Davis.
  • Barbara Lee, a member of Congress since 1998, is the current Chair of the CBC, and was the only Member of Congress to vote against the Authorization of Force after the September 11th attacks.
  • Diane Watson, who joined Congress in 2001 after a long time in California’s State Senate and a brief Ambassadorship.
  • Bill Cosby needs no introduction.
  • Wole Coaxum ’92 is a Senior Vice President at JPMorgan Chase.
  • William Spriggs ’77 is Chair of Economics at Howard University and Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Labor.

Video of last fall’s event is here.


Jim Brown speech

Jim Brown shares lessons with college athletes:

The NFL and its players union share the blame for failing to take care of those who retire from football damaged by its violent collisions, Hall of Famer Jim Brown said Thursday.

One day after appearing before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee for a hearing on head injuries in football, Brown said in a series of talks at Williams College that the league’s failure to take care of retired players is “a crying shame.”

“The NFL, with the players association, have been an embarrassment, because the legends of the game who have run into hard times, medically and economically, have been deserted,” Brown said. “It’s a crying shame that an organization like the NFL does not take care of their own.”

Brown said he was optimistic that something would come of the hearings, noting that Congress has threatened to repeal the antitrust exemption that allows the league to negotiate lucrative TV contracts. “When you talk about that, you hit a nerve with the NFL,” he said.

Known since he retired at the peak of his career as much for his outspoken views as his football prowess, Brown had even harsher words for the NCAA, calling it “the most ridiculous organization in the country.” Criticizing administrators who live off the money generated by college athletes, he said, “College athletes aren’t amateurs, these guys are the farm teams for the NBA and NFL.”

Link to full article

(h/t Meirabb)


Williams hosts Lewis, Clyburn, Patrick and others

This is a pretty unbelievable get for a college like Williams:

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and 10 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will join in a discussion of “Race and the New Congress” on Monday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus.  The event, to be moderated by 60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl, is free and open to the public.  Seating is on a first-come basis.

“What an enormous honor it is for Williams to host the largest number of Congress members ever to gather on our campus,” Williams President Morton Owen Schapiro said, “and what a great privilege for students, faculty, staff, and local residents to hear first-hand from caucus members so soon after the historic presidential election.”

The gathering will be the first of CBC members since Congress recessed for the election.

“I’m excited to take part in such an important discussion at a particularly auspicious time for Congress and the country to advance issues of race,” Stahl said.  “It’s especially newsworthy to assemble so many of the CBC members who hold leadership positions.”

The caucus members so far expected to take part are:

James E. Clyburn (S.C.), Democratic Leadership Majority Whip;
Robert. C. Scott (Va.), Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security;
Bennie G. Thompson (Miss.), Chairman, House Committee on Homeland Security;
Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Chairwoman, House Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure Protection;
Danny K. Davis (Ill.), Chairman, House Subcommittee on the District of Columbia;
John Lewis (Ga.), Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means;
Diane E. Watson (Calif.), Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs;
Hank Johnson (Ga.), Member of the House Committee on Armed Services;
Donna M. Christensen (V.I.), Member of the House Homeland Security;
Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

The event was initiated by Visiting Lecturer in Political Science Bernard Moore.   Executive Director of the non-profit think tank Second Chance for Social Justice, Moore is a policy advisor to caucus member Danny Davis.

In January 1969, newly elected African American representatives of the 77th Congress joined six incumbents to form the Democratic Select Committee to address legislative concerns of black and minority citizens.  The Committee was renamed the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in 1971.

The vision of the founding members of the CBC, to “promote the public welfare through legislation designed to meet the needs of millions of neglected citizens,” continues today.  Its members have been at the forefront of legislative campaigns for human and civil rights for all citizens.

A reception in the Paresky Student Center will follow the discussion.

The event is sponsored by The W. Ford Schumann ’50 Program in Democratic Studies. the Office of the President, Africana Studies, the Multicultural Center, and the Claiming Williams initiative.

Congratulations to Bernard Moore and everyone else who helped to pull this together.

Will any of our readers be attending? Please report back with your thoughts and impressions in the comments thread below (keep discussions on-topic, please).

Will video be available, maybe from C-SPAN? I don’t know. It’s a shame there isn’t a prominent link to a live stream included with the press release.


Stupid Grins

Ready for another one of my famous parodies? How about this e-mail from Dean McKeon to all Williams students studying abroad:

Hi student travelers,

You have not doubt heard the thrilling news that Barack Obama was elected President last night. Most people here are walking around with stupid grins and new hope in their hearts. We have a long hard road ahead but “Yes we can.”

I believe that this election will change the standing of the United States abroad quite noticeably. I would be delighted to learn from you what you are hearing and feeling and seeing.

All best wishes on your adventure in learning and being,

Laura McKeon

I must have made that up, right? No Williams Dean would so blithely assume that every single student would find Obama’s election thrilling. Only a rightwing Troglodyte like me would ever think that the ideological unanimity of Williams leads inevitably to this sort of stupidity.

Alas, no parody. A student writes:

You can imagine my surprise, then, when I opened an email from Dean McKeon on Wednesday only to find her fawning over Obama as if her were the second coming of Christ. As if this weren’t enough, it was followed by another email two days later with an AP article that, in my opinion, captures the media’s failure in this day and age. Both the email and article are attached below.

Really, is all this absolutely necessary? I wonder if Dean McKeon sent study-abroad students a similar email in 2004 after Bush won–I’ll go ahead and say no. And if her email is accurate, it also makes me wonder what the campus’ political atmosphere is like right now.

No worries, though! Professor Sam Crane is always telling me that the lack of ideological diversity among the Williams faculty (and staff) is nothing to worry about. Perhaps this student should seek psychological counseling. All Ephs should all be walking around with “new hope in their hearts” . . .


Race and the Criminal Justice System

Please comment in this brainstorming thread if you have not done so.

I went to the Roundtable today that David wrote about earlier today. (Satire of said post here)

Follow the jump for my opinions regarding tonight. What do commenters think about setting Ephblog policy such that opinion generally stays below the fold, like this? Read more


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