Sociology professor's resignation sparks discussion

The resignation of longtime associate sociology professor Patricia Murphy has created a stir in the Geneseo campus. Murphy, who had a reputation for frequently missing her classes, had taught at Geneseo since 1991.

According to William Lofquist, associate professor and chair of the sociology department, Murphy's resignation is effective at the start of the next academic year on Aug. 31, 2008. "Her status right now is that she has been reassigned by the office of the provost," said Lofquist.

He declined to comment on any personal issues that purportedly affected Murphy's resignation, as did other professors in the sociology department.

Neil Campbell, a senior who took several courses with Murphy, said, "I enrolled in her course this semester because previous experience has shown her to be reliable for only about 70 percent of her classes. Although her lectures are really only suitable for students interested in her strongly feminist perspective, I enrolled in her courses for the easy grade and the fact that attendance is far from necessary."

This semester, Murphy had planned to teach American Criminal Justice System, Women & the Law, and Sociology of Law. Lofquist has replaced her in American Criminal Justice System. Additionally, School of Education Dean Osman Alawiye has replaced her in Women & the Law. Murphy's Sociology of Law class has been cancelled - students have been reassigned to alternate sociology courses.

Aside from teaching, Murphy is a "committed feminist" who led the women's studies program for several years and also served as Geneseo's pre-law advisor, said Melanie Blood, associate director of the school of the arts and current coordinator of the women's studies program. "I was saddened to hear of her resignation," said Blood.

Campbell also found Murphy's resignation unfortunate. "Professor Murphy is an extremely kind individual and she was more than cordial on the two occasions that I called her at her home regarding coursework." Murphy was "proud of her role in the Geneseo faculty," said Campbell.

Murphy received her Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire and started her Geneseo career in the fall of 1991. Courses she has taught include Women and the Law, American Criminal Justice System, Social Problems & Public Policy, Sociology of Gender, and Sociology of Law. Her areas of research include women, politics, law and the legal regulation of motherhood.