Dean Harry Hirsch Resigns
On Wednesday at 5 p.m. President Nancy Dye sent a mass e-mail to the college faculty announcing Dean of Arts and Science Harry Hirsch’s resignation, effective immediately.
Hirsch served as dean for only one full academic year, having come to Oberlin in Fall 2005.
In her memo, Dye also wrote that she had appointed Provost Al Mackay interim dean in Hirsch’s place.
She said that a permanent acting dean would be appointed within a few days.
The brief e-mail did not include an explanation of Hirsch’s resignation, commentary or reaction.
The Review contacted Hirsch following the news of his resignation; he wrote to confirm it.
“I can confirm that I have resigned as Dean, effective immediately,” he wrote. “I remain a tenured professor in the politics department, and plan at some point to take up my duties there, possibly as soon as the spring semester. ”
Hirsch concluded by saying that he had no further comment.
President Dye also declined to comment at this time due to the confidential nature of personnel issues.
Although rumors are flying amongst faculty, staff and students as to the nature of and reasons behind Hirsch’s resignation, the stated facts are all that can be substantiated at this time.
Roger Copeland, professor of theater and dance commented on Hirsch’s performance as dean.
“Harry has really emerged as the spokesperson for the faculty,” said Copeland. “He hasn’t functioned merely as a top-down conduit who conveys [President Dye’s wishes] to the faculty. He’s the only Dean in recent years who has been willing to stand up to Dye.”
Copeland described what he saw as a state of building tension between Dye and Hirsch, referring specifically to the time when she overrode the College Faculty Council’s recommended position cut. Hirsch, as Dean, served as chair of the Council.
“I don’t know what kind of lackey is going to be willing to serve as acting Dean as long as Dye is still President,” said Copeland.