Protecting our turf

Of all the charges leveled against Barack Obama over the last two months, few have been more absurd t

By Tim Murphy

Of all the charges leveled against Barack Obama over the last two months, few have been more absurd than the claims that he embellished his position at The Law School by referring to himself as a “professor,” when his official title was actually “lecturer.” Slate’s excellent “Trailhead” blog, among others, latched onto the accusation and accepted the Clinton camp’s argument.While there are a few minor administrative distinctions between professors and lecturers, for all intents and purposes, they are the same thing and students wouldn’t differentiate between the two. So perhaps tired of hearing its name cluelessly tossed around, The Law School stepped in today and issued a statement essentially telling everyone to please stop talking about this:

The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as “Senior Lecturer.” From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track…

Good enough for me. Not content to simply leave our favorite Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law in peace, however, Time’s “Swampland” blog mistakenly referred to Obama’s institution as the “University of Illinois” in its post on the matter. This is, of course, a real sore spot for U of C students. Coming to her co-blogger’s defense, U of C alum Ana Marie Cox had this to say in the comments:

In JNS’s defense, I’d like to note that people screw up UC/UIC all the time. I think somewhere I have a regrettably snobbish t-shirt from my time in Hyde Park, referring to the misconception: “University of Chicago: Not a State School.” I was younger then. Phil Singer, btw, would not have gotten this wrong — and maybe he shouldn’t have miffed the lecturer thing. Both he and Howard Wolfson are fellow Maroon alums. It’s kind of a strange place.

Just a little bit.