Rutgers suspends top anthropology professor for allegedly refusing to teach, report says


Rutgers suspends top anthropology professor for allegedly refusing to teach, report says

NEW BRUNSWICK — Rutgers University has suspended prominent anthropologist Robert Trivers with pay after he allegedly told students he knew nothing about the “Human Aggression” class he was assigned to teach, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Trivers said he was told by Department of Anthropology officials to teach the class over his objections that he knew nothing about the subject. In his first lecture last month, Trivers told students he would do his best to learn the subject with the students and teach the class with the help of a guest lecturer.
The professor was told he was suspended for involving students in the dispute and effectively refusing to teach the course, according to the report. Another professor, who had taught the course last year, stepped in to take over the class.

Last month, Trivers told the Daily Targum, the student newspaper, top university officials refused to meet with him to discuss his problems teaching the class.
“You would think the university would show a little respect for my teaching abilities on subjects that I know about and not force me to teach a course on a subject that I do not at all master,” Trivers told the campus newspaper.

Trivers’ said his expertise is in social theory. He has won top awards in the field for his work.
“I don’t want to sound immodest, but I am one of the greatest social theorists in evolutionary biology alive, period,” Trivers told the campus newspaper. “I won the Crafoord Prize, which is considered the Nobel Prize for evolution, [worth] half a million dollars. I’m not an underperformer.”

How do you pull off that suspended with pay deal? The only time I get paid for not working is vacation – and lots of people don’t even get that.


I am very interested in this story.


Here is an article from last year, which provides some background about Prof. Trivers.

A long-simmering feud between the prominent evolutionary theorist Robert Trivers and a colleague at Rutgers University took a strange turn last month, when Mr. Trivers revealed that he had been banned from the New Brunswick campus for five months last year for violent and threatening behavior.

*He can be abrupt and gruff at the best of times, [Amy Jacobson] says—“Anyone who tells you he’s a pleasure and a dream to deal with doesn’t know him”—but “that’s the price of genius.” In interviews he quickly switches from calm to irritated and back, and he swears epically.

Mr. Trivers made the news in 2007, when his hosts at Harvard canceled a talk upon learning that he’d sent a harsh letter to Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School professor, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It read, in part: “If there is a repeat of Israeli butchery toward Lebanon and if you decide once again to rationalize it publicly, look forward to a visit from me.” Mr. Trivers told The Boston Globe that he had in mind a nonviolent confrontation.*

I think he needs a close friend who can act sort of like an editor. He needs someone who can look over his planned course of action before he goes public with it; someone who can rein him in, when necessary.


“He swears epically.” Ha.


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