By Tushar Rae; Chronicle of Higher Education (March 17, 2011)
After coming under fire for an academic paper he wrote more than a decade ago, Timothy J.L. Chandler retracted on Thursday his acceptance of the position of provost and vice president of academic affairs at Kennesaw State University, in Georgia.
In a statement released by Kennesaw State, Mr. Chandler, who is senior associate provost at Kent State University, said he decided that the “recent distractions caused by external forces would interfere with my effectiveness as provost.”
Mr. Chandler has recently come under attack from newspaper columnists in Georgia for a paper he wrote with a colleague, “Beyond Boyer’s ‘Scholarship Reconsidered’: Fundamental Change in the University and the Socioeconomic Systems,” that was published in The Journal of Higher Education in 1998. The columnists for The Marietta Daily Journal said that Mr. Chandler’s work showed an “obvious fondness for Marx and vehement dislike of capitalism.”
In response to the newspaper, Mr. Chandler said he is not a Marxist, although he did say that the paper was written “partly through a Marxist lens.”
To prove that Mr. Chandler had “swallowed Marxist theory hook, line, and sinker,” the columnists pointed to several excerpts, including this statement: “An asymmetric distribution of resources guarantees high levels of competition, greed, and violence. These three outcomes are important explicit goals of capitalism.”
When contacted by the Journal, Daniel S. Papp, president of Kennesaw State, backed Mr. Chandler and said he still wanted him as provost, although the president did say he was “blindsided” by the contents of Mr. Chandler’s 1998 work.
And Mr. Chandler had initially said that he planned to start the position in July, in spite of the criticism. In Thursday’s statement, he said he had changed his mind. He noted that, even so, he felt strongly about the commitment he had made “to elevating Kennesaw State University’s academic stature.”
The Faculty Senate at Kennesaw State had taken up a resolution this week to voice support for Mr. Chandler. But the measure was tabled after several members said they felt a need to further explore Mr. Chandler’s past work.