UNH prof. cleared of criminal charges

A University of New Hampshire biochemistry professor who has been embroiled in a dispute with another faculty member was cleared of criminal charges on Tuesday (October 23). The district court of Durham, N.H., cleared linkurl:John Collins;http://biochemistry.unh.edu/Faculty/Collins/index.html of criminal charges of disorderly conduct and stalking, Collins told The Scientist. The charges, which were filed on June 29, came after Collins, then chair of the biochemistry department at UNH, was li

Andrea Gawrylewski
Oct 24, 2007
A University of New Hampshire biochemistry professor who has been embroiled in a dispute with another faculty member was cleared of criminal charges on Tuesday (October 23). The district court of Durham, N.H., cleared linkurl:John Collins;http://biochemistry.unh.edu/Faculty/Collins/index.html of criminal charges of disorderly conduct and stalking, Collins told The Scientist. The charges, which were filed on June 29, came after Collins, then chair of the biochemistry department at UNH, was linkurl:banned;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53383/ from campus in June after an altercation in the biochemistry building. After he had received a parking ticket outside the department building, Collins allegedly made threatening comments about another staff member, linkurl:Stacia Sower;http://www.unh.edu/biochemistry/sower/sower.html , the dean of research. "We feel that the verdict is certainly a vindication," said Collins, who gave his first public account of the incident at the trial. And the verdict showed that "the action of the University in banning me was for reasons that have been shown...
n Tuesday (October 23). The district court of Durham, N.H., cleared linkurl:John Collins;http://biochemistry.unh.edu/Faculty/Collins/index.html of criminal charges of disorderly conduct and stalking, Collins told The Scientist. The charges, which were filed on June 29, came after Collins, then chair of the biochemistry department at UNH, was linkurl:banned;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53383/ from campus in June after an altercation in the biochemistry building. After he had received a parking ticket outside the department building, Collins allegedly made threatening comments about another staff member, linkurl:Stacia Sower;http://www.unh.edu/biochemistry/sower/sower.html , the dean of research. "We feel that the verdict is certainly a vindication," said Collins, who gave his first public account of the incident at the trial. And the verdict showed that "the action of the University in banning me was for reasons that have been shown not to be true." The trial -- which lasted three hours -- was held before a judge only; four people testified on behlf of the prosecution and two people testified on behalf of Collins. One of the defense witnesses was Gabrielle Giese, a Master's student in Collins' lab, where work on the SARC cancer gene has been suspended since June. Giese also did a lab rotation in Sower's lab for five weeks and found the experience disappointing, she told The Scientist. "[Sower's] quite paranoid and she won't let you do very much in the lab," said Giese. "She made us wash dishes and label test tubes; we did pipette exercises you do as an undergrad, that's about all we did. She didn't want us touching her experiments." Sower and a member of her lab did not respond to requests for comment. A hearing will continue in New Hampshire Superior Court on Tuesday (October 30), to determine whether a restraining order requested by Sower against Collins should be made permanent. Collins said he does not expect to hear from UNH administrators about whether he will be reinstated until after that hearing is concluded. In August, the university linkurl:offered;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53581/ for him to return to his post as a professor, but told him he was being unseated as department chair, and that he had to take anger management class and write a formal apology to Sower and the university. UNH PR officials did not respond before this item was posted.

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