You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Clinton Campaign Lands Knock-out Blow

...on the great "law professor" controversy, of course.

The Clinton campaign sent out this Chicago Sun-Times blog post last night after the University of Chicago had earlier posted a statement explaining Obama's status at the school:

The University of Chicago released a statement on Thursday saying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) “served as a professor” in the law school—but that is a title Obama, who taught courses there part-time, never held, a spokesman for the school confirmed on Friday.

“He did not hold the title of professor of law,” said Marsha Ferziger Nagorsky, an Assistant Dean for Communications and Lecturer in Law at the school, on East 60th St. in Chicago...

The university statement said, “From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School.” The school probably did not mean to imply that Obama became a University of Chicago professor a year out of law school. But the word “served” is key—Nagorsky said Obama carried out, or served, a function of a professor—teaching a core curriculum course while a senior lecturer—while at the same time not holding down that rank.

I'm not exactly sure what the contradiction is, since the U of C statement said:

He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year.

Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status.

As best I can tell, the university regarded Obama as a professor, but didn't officially confer that title on him. 

I guess I don't see the scandal in Obama describing himself that way. But maybe the voters of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana will see something I don't...

--Noam Scheiber