Thomson Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield will take a leave of absence next year, he said yesterday.
Mansfield had announced his plans for a sabbatical to students several months ago, before the recent controversy over his comments linking grade inflation and affirmative action at the University.
A coalition of minority student groups two weeks ago called Mansfield's comments racist.
Mansfield said yesterday he will spend the year writing a book on American politics and probably will stay in Cambridge.
Mansfield said he does not know who will teach his classes while he is gone. He currently teaches Government 10 and Government 1061.
Mansfield's remarks have drawn strong criticism from Black Students Association President Zaheer R. Ali '94, who helped to organize the new minority student coalition of nine campus groups.
Mansfield yesterday dismissed Ali's charge that Mansfield's remarks might make some Black students uneasy in taking a class from him.
"I don't think [students will feel uncomfortable]," he said. "I think they know I try to run an honest class, which means letting students speak their minds."
He said he does not think recent events will affect the enrollment in his classes.
"I hope not," he said. "I certainly hope not."