UConn to Permit Walcott To Keep Lecturing Honor
The University of Connecticut has decided not to rescind a prestigious lecturing invitation to Derek A. Walcott, a former Harvard visiting professor who was reprimanded last year for sexually harassing a female freshman.
A UConn English department committee announced yesterday that it had unanimously decided last month to endorse the Poetry Committee's decision to offer Walcott the invitation.
The committee added in the statement that it made the unanimous decision in the belief that all the issues in the case involving Professor Walcott at Harvard University have been resolved and that none of the parties contemplates taking any further actions."
The Walcott case first became public last spring when a female freshman charged that Walcott had made improper advances to her in a poetry class. Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky ruled that the charge "had merit" and informed Walcott's permanent employer, Boston University (B. U) of the incident Walcott decided the charges.
The UConn committee also stated that it wants to make clear its sensitivity to the issues involved in the case and its strong opposition to sexual harassment or racism in what ever forms they may manifest themselves."
Marlyn M. Lewis 70 assistant dean of the College yesterday refused to comment on the UConn decision Wakott who is teaching at B U This year was unavailable for comment.
The Wallace Stevens Lectureship selection committee decided to reconsider its invitation to Walcott after reading about the sexual harassment incident in an October New York Times article, Joan Hall, a UConn English professor and committee member, said shortly after the Times article reappeared.
Past recipients of the prestigious 19-year-old Stevens Lecturing honor include poets Robert Penn Warren and Adrienne Rich As this year's lecturer. Walcott is scheduled to recruit selections from his own works and to award poetry prizes to UConn students.
Walcott has published several books of poetry and plays and received the Rockefeller Fellowship in 1957, the Guinness Award in 1961, the Eugene O'Neill Foundation-Wesleyan University Fellowship in 1969, and the Obie award for "The Dream on Monkey Mountain" in 1971. Born in the west Indies in 1930, he now resides in Trinidad.