Charles S. Singleton, professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and a renowned Dante scholar, has resigned from the University.
A source close to Singleton said yesterday that his resignation was "a kind of protest against infringement on individual departments by the Administration." Although Singleton would give no reason for his resignation, it is understood from members of the Department that he was upset by a recent appointment which the Administration exerted pressure on the Department to accept.
Dean Bundy declined last night to comment on the situation.
When Singleton leaves in July, he will accept an appointment at Johns Hopkins University as a professor-at-large, a post which corresponds to that of a University Professor here. He taught at Johns Hopkins from 1937 to 1948, when, as chairman of the Romance Languages Department, he left to accept his present post at Harvard.
In a statement released to the CRIMSON yesterday, Singleton explained his reasons for accepting the new appointment.
"Johns Hopkins has never lost sight of one vital truth, that the university is its faculty and that the power of promotion and appointment must rest with the faculty itself.
"Promotions and appointments by presidential or administrative fiat are unconstitutional and unknown there. The faculty would never tolerate them in any way; nor could the role of the faculty in the matter of appointments be construed as merely advisory rather than determining.
"It is the great tradition in which my own idea of a university happens to have been formed," Singleton continued. "I am happy to return."
Although some disagreement is known to exist on the relation of the Administration to individual departments on appointment procedures, the generally accepted position is that stated in the 1938 Committee of Eight Report. The report says in part that while the Administration agrees "ordinarily" with a department's recommendation of an appointee, "there are certain situations where the Administration may well dissent."
Administration dissent may result, the report continues, if a department has lost its "specialized competence," thus needing "new blood," or if a department is "paralyzed by internal dissension" and is incapable of "constructive and unified policy."
The Romance Languages Department is as yet in doubt as to whether it will continue the courses in Dante which Singleton now teaches, Raimundo Lida department chairman, said yesterday. Lida felt it would be "a very difficult problem" to replace Singleton.
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