ALACHUA COUNTY WOMEN'S POLITICAL CAUCUS
The Gaind6sville Sun
101 S..E. 2nd Place
Thank you for two most informative articles, "U F Won't Suspend Visiting
Professor For Sex Charges" (5-30-78) and "Women Protest 'Lack of Action'
by Tigert in Coed Fondling Count."(6-1-78)
Both of these articles merit immediate comment. In the first news account
we learn that, according to police, visiting economics professor Ezra
Mishan may have sexually molested as many as 20 women who had come to his
house in answer to an ad. He was arrested on two counts of sexual battery
and possession of drugs, with bond set at $10,000. U. F. Vice President for
Academic Affairs, Robert Bryan, however, did not know of any policy con-
cerning arrested faculty members and, consequ4ently, no disciplinary action
was taken against the professor.. Fred Arditti,. chairman of the Economics
Department, praised the professor as being "one of the world's leading.
authorities" on economics, and saw no need to suspend the accused pro-
fessor, since "charges stemmed from his private life and not his teaching
performance." After all, Arditti continued, "It wasn't like he had been
selling test results or anything."
So Professor Mishan remained securely on the state payroll'at $5,000 per
quarter, with the support of his colleagues and Vice President Bryan.
In the second article, we learn that two dozen angry protesters, children
included, expressed their anger at the administrations's seeming support
of Mishan. Signs read "UF Pays While Mishan Plays" and "What if the Models
Had Been Male?"
Vice President Bryan gave a statement to the press afterwards that he is
concerned about due process in the case, indicating that perhaps thp protest
was not a good idea.
At this point, let us refresh our-memory. In an earlier year, then-Associate
Vice President Robert Bryant was instrumental in the firing of Associate
English Professor, Councille Blye. Many Gainesville citizens remember reading
the particulars about that incident,- especially since the case was tied up
for several years in federal courts around the question of whether Mr. Blye
had received 'due process'.
Mr. Blye, who is black, and not 'internationally known,' had invited three
white football players to his home for dinner and had allegedly verbally
The police were never involved, nor were department colleagues invited to
give input in the University decision.- Mr. Blye was fired outright. The
case remained in court for several years, with the ACLU lending support
to Councille Blye.
*It is likely that three football players would have been sufficiently able
-to defend themselves in the face of mere verbal overtures. However, the
University deemed it necessary ;to remove this nuisance from their midst.
Unfortunately women have not found University officials so accommodating,
even when'they have the police involvement and arrest for criminal charges.
We can continue to breathe a sigh of relief that anybody on the football
team, particularly if he's white, is a safe man on the U F campus!
We have no guarantee that women (even if they make the team) would ever
receive the same kind of support from U F officials, and Vice President
Robert Bryan in particular. Obviously, sexual battery charges are"unimpressive."
Economics Department Chairman Arditti is probably genuinely surprised that
people would make a big fuss over the Mishan case. His confusion is under-
standable. After all, sexual assault, at least against women, has always
been a minor matter in American tradition. We.can easily feel sympathetic-
for his being caught unawares.
However, we must re-appraise Vice President Robert Bryan's role in the
incident. Mr. Bryan has talents which might possibly be put to us else-
where; perhaps he would function admirably in a position at West Ppint or
Annapolis that would enable him to further look out for the safety of the
Regretably, however, his peculiar abilities are of no benefit to women
Sallie Ann Harrison, President
Alachua County Women's