More than a dozen University of New Hampshire faculty members showed up in court to support a colleague charged with stalking another professor.
John Collins, chairman of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, was charged last month with disorderly conduct and stalking for comments he allegedly made about Associate Dean of Research Stacia Sower. He was arrested and banned from campus after six faculty members told police they heard him yell, kick a garbage can and threaten to kill Sower after receiving a parking ticket.
Sower, who said she was not responsible for the ticket,
“John Collins is an extremely angry man,” Sower wrote in requesting a restraining order. “I do not feel safe in my office or labs at Rudman. I do not feel safe for my students in their office or labs. I feel very threatened, and I am scared of what he could do to me or my students.”
At a hearing on the restraining order Friday, Collins turned and thanked some of the 16 faculty members who sat in the courtroom. They said the entire story has not been told but declined to elaborate.
“This is not what it appears to be,” said Collins’ attorney, Paul McEachern.
Both McEachern and Sower’s attorney, Stuart Dedopoulous, said the parking ticket was the tipping point of deeper matters.
“There is a lot of conflict within the department philosophically,” said Dedopoulous. “They’ve obviously had disagreements over the years. They are two highly educated people who are strong willed and have certain views on how things should be run. You just hope adults who are highly educated and … mature can resolve their differences without resorting to threats.”
McEachern had planned to call six witnesses to testify at the hearing but the judge said there wasn’t time. He said the hearing would be rescheduled.
University spokeswoman Erika Mantz said the school is conducting its own review of the incident.
Information from: Portsmouth Herald, http://www.seacoastonline.com
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com