Professor Arrested for Murders at University of Alabama

The academic community is shocked by the news that not only were three faculty members murdered at the University of Alabama but that the suspect is a fellow academic. Amy Bishop, a biology professor, is facing murder charges in the shooting deaths of three faculty members and will be charged with the wounding of three other employees Friday.

In relation to the Virginia Tech shootings, I wrote about how such acts shatter the protected realm of the “academic circle,” here. It is particularly shocking to see a faculty member causing such mayhem.

Bishop is an assistant professor of biological sciences and allegedly killed the professors at Shelby Hall, named after U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.

It has also been reported that Bishop shot her brother 25 years ago, here.

Killed were professors Gopi Podila, chairman of the biological sciences department; Maria Davis, associate professor of biology; and Adriel Johnson, associate professor of biology.

Bishop is a neuroscientist who joined the faculty in 2003. With her husband, Jim Anderson, chief science officer of Cherokee Labsystems in Huntsville, she created a portable cell-incubator called “InQ” which won a state prize. In one possible contributor of the incident, she was denied tenure. For those details, here.

Our condolences to the entire Alabama faculty, students, and families.

For the full story, click here and here.

47 thoughts on “Professor Arrested for Murders at University of Alabama”

  1. Just Thought I would let everyone know that This happened in my home town of Huntsville Alabama, and the university is UAH-University of Alabama Huntsville, not the University Of Alabama which is mentioned above. I currently attend the University Of Alabama which is in Tuscaloosa Alabama and would appreciate it if you would correct your error. Just one more thing, that kind of mistake is ridiculous and unprofessional. The teacher had mental problems dating back to her childhood when she was accused of killing her brother. No investigation was ever pursued because her mom was having romantic relations with the sheriff at the time of her brothers death.

  2. AY:

    “I do not know why Dr Freud is attacking you today.”


    Like most lost puppies, he thinks I’m his mom. Very Oedipal.

  3. Thank you Mespo for the update.

    I do not know why Dr Freud is attacking you today.

  4. UPDATE: Apparently former students have now weighed in with the predictable reactionary response from the School. When an alum wrote a letter demanding that Alabama-Huntsville shoulder at least some of the blame for a poor work environment, he was met with this response:

    “In his letter to the editor, [Samuel] Parks called the shootings a “heinous crime,” but added:

    By routinely treating the faculty and staff as expendable livestock, and by regarding the students as blank checks ripe for cashing, the university has spawned an atmosphere of doubt, fear and animosity. Such conditions will always breed radical responses from the chronically oppressed.

    Parks’ letter apparently struck a nerve with the UAH administration, led by President David B. Williams. Says Parks:

    Since my graduation last May, I have volunteered with the student government to pass along some of the institutional knowledge I gleaned during my career as a student. After the publication of the letter in the Huntsville Times, the administration forbid me from communicating with any of the current student leaders. They cited an unwillingness to perpetuate my “dissension.”

    Thus further evidencing the larger problem with the system.”

    Legal Schnauzer has the rest of the story:

  5. dAVE:

    “Thuggee (or tuggee, ठग्गी ṭhagī) (from Hindi ठग ṭhag ‘thief’, from Sanskrit स्थग sthaga ‘cunning’, ‘sly’, ‘fraudulent’, ‘dishonest’, ‘scoundrel’, from स्थगति sthagati ‘he conceals’)[1] is the term for a particular kind of murder and robbery of travellers in India.”

    origin of the word Thug

  6. @Pinandpuller : You say “I think that you fine folks are confusing the gun culture with the thug culture.”

    Might it be the there’s just recognition that “gun culture” is not monolithic, and that what you call “Thug culture” is necessarily a subset of it? Just like “hunters”, “target shooters”, “sellers”/pushers, “collectors”, gun pornographers/publishers, and so on.

    That said, you’re the one introducing “thug culture”.
    Somehow I can’t see Amy Bishop as someone to walk with gold chains, expensive sneakers or a diamond-studded dental grill … rapping and pimping ho’s at faculty meetings. But I’d admit I’m just speculating; I have no idea what goes down at the University of Alabama Faculty Club. Maybe that really is how they roll there. That’s certainly a more interesting speculation than other’s I’ve seen here.

  7. Tootie,

    Maybe I am missing something. Are you for tenure or against it?

    I guess only the rich will be able to afford tenure as they will soon be the only ones that will be able to afford college for the kids anyway. So the argument is academic in this sense.

    People need tenure to be secure in the position to teach write and not be subjected to the whiles and whims of the administration. Something about security that enables some to express otherwise suppressed ideals. But then that goes with book banning, burning. When you have one you will soon have no need for the other….

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