Tenure Denial

Your recent article about the denial of tenure to Sharon Palmer in the department of chemistry at Smith College (B. Goodman, The Scientist, April 29, 1996, page 1) brings to mind the case of Cynthia Fisher. After receiving her doctorate in 1963 from Rutgers University, Fisher spent two more years there as a postdoc, then spent the next eight years raising her children. In 1977 she joined the biology department of Vassar College and was denied tenure there in 1985 (B. Spector, The Scientist, Ju

Judith Tanner
Jun 9, 1996

Your recent article about the denial of tenure to Sharon Palmer in the department of chemistry at Smith College (B. Goodman, The Scientist, April 29, 1996, page 1) brings to mind the case of Cynthia Fisher.

After receiving her doctorate in 1963 from Rutgers University, Fisher spent two more years there as a postdoc, then spent the next eight years raising her children. In 1977 she joined the biology department of Vassar College and was denied tenure there in 1985 (B. Spector, The Scientist, July 25, 1994, page 1). Vassar says, as reported in the New York Times (J.C. McKinley, Jr., Sept. 10, 1995, page 52), that her eight-year absence (which occurred before she was hired by Vassar!) was a factor in its decision. She went to court and won reinstatement, but Vassar appealed and the higher court ruled in favor of the college....

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