Friday, December 12, 2008

Jan Kemp: Interesting and ultimately sad story

The obituary of Jan Kemp appeared in the New York Times today.

Kemp was an English instructor at the University of Georgia in the 1980s when she called the athletic department on the preferential treatment of football players who did not meet the university's academic standards.

While coordinator of Georgia’s remedial English program, Dr. Kemp was among several faculty members who had complained that officials at Georgia intervened in the fall of 1981 to enable nine football players to pass a remedial English course in which they had received failing grades. The athletes remained eligible to play for Georgia against Pittsburgh in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day 1982.
Kemp was demoted and then fired. She sued and was eventually reinstated and given a substantial settlement. But she paid a terrible emotional and physical price. She attempted suicide twice.

She retired in 1990 and died last week of Alzheimer's. She was 59.

As an academic, I find this an extremely sad story.

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