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S.D.S.C. Exonerates Bohmer But Fails to Renew Contract

By Arthur H. Lubow

A hearing panel at San Diego State College on December 31 found Peter G. Bohmer, a radical assistant professor of Economics at S.D.S.C., not guilty of charges of "unprofessional conduct."

But two weeks before that decision, Bohmer had received a letter from Acting President Donald E. Walker, informing him that he had not been rehired for the next academic year.

"The panel decision was a victory on that level," Bohmer said yesterday. "But it only means I can stay on for six more months."

Walker's decision not to rehire Bohmer was unusual, because it contradicted the recommendation of the Economics Department at S.D.S.C. After Bohmer received Walker's letter on December 17, the tenure committee of the Economics Department met and reaffirmed its recommendation of Bohmer.

Three days later, the chairman of the departments of the School of Arts and Letters at S.D.S.C. voted unanimously in favor of rehiring Bohmer.

In a statement to the press announcing his decision against rehiring Bohmer, Walker mentioned "secret information" that had appeared recently.

This information apparently concerns Bohmer's arrest and conviction for participation in a political demonstration on January 16, 1970 at MIT. Bohmer later served a 45-day prison term.

State law required Walker to inform all non-tenured professors by December 17 whether they had been rehired for the next year.

Walker could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Two students had charged Bohmer with imposing his political views on his students. If the faculty panel which investigated the charges had found Bohmer guilty, it could have recommended immediate dismissal.

The panel's recommendations were approved by Walker who, as President, has final authority. Walker said in his press statement his decision not to rehire Bohmer was not related to these charges.

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