If you commit suicide, the turkeys will win

Or at least they will work hard to do so. 

This is part of the extremely sad story of Antonio Calvo, who had been a lecturer at Princeton for ten years, and headed the program for teaching Spanish.  He was responsible for the behavior of the grad students teaching the intro courses, and he spoke very harshly to two of them.  One young man he told to stop playing with himself (in Spanish) and to a young women he said he could slap her, while slapping his hands together.

His contract was under review in the fall of 2010, but he was not kept abreast of any developments in the spring of 2011.  Three weeks before the end of the spring 2011 semester, he was summarily dismissed, told to leave his keys on his desk, had his access to email stopped, and was escorted off campus.  This was a surprise to him.  It meant, among other things, that his visa for staying in the US was in trouble.

He went up to his Manhattan apartment on Thurs and killed himself on Monday. 

Since then the many friends of this very popular teacher have sought an explanation for treating this man this way.  Claiming privacy concerns, officials have refused that request.  Charges of  “troubling behavior” have been made, but friends maintain there was a witch hunt fueled by a very few people.  The President of Princeton has said that his friends wouldn’t want the whole story to go public.   And I have to stress that we do not know what these extra things are or whether the claims are correct or not.

But we can still award a prize.  The Best of the Turkeys award goes to the Princeton official quoted by the Chronicle of Higher Education:

 Given the way in which Mr. Calvo killed himself, he adds, the university was right to be concerned. “If you look at what he did several days later, what he did was a very violent act. We would not want that violence directed at anyone in the community.

Using somone’s  later reactive suicide to justify your firing him is not a class act.

5 thoughts on “If you commit suicide, the turkeys will win

  1. this is so outrageous. The inappropriate behaviors he as a teacher displayed deserved just reprimands. The man who used his death to justify their inexcusably excessive punishment is, in my opinion, something that deserves a much stronger level of punishment. Truly disgusting to read about this happening and just shows how extremely unfair and dishonest some people with power can be.

  2. You don’t know what happened. Neither do I. But, frankly, I am tired of everyone assuming that there were only two incidents. This is particularly ridiculous in a feminist blog. Do we not know of case after case of complaints where the person doesn’t want to go to the police? I am not saying that he was guilty of anything, just that you don’t know.

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