Grier, Cozort to Cover Sartwell’s Classes


Photo Courtesy of the Dickinson College Website

Associate Professor of Philosophy Crispin Sartwell

The Department of Philosophy has found replacements for all the courses and independent studies taught by Crispin Sartwell, the associate professor of philosophy who was placed on temporary leave on March 3.

Meanwhile, Provost Neil Weissman confirmed on March 8 that Sartwell still “remains a tenured member of the faculty on leave.” However, Weissman said that arranging for faculty to cover Sartwell’s courses will “ensure students have a learning experience free of further interruption and [can] obtain course credit.”

Prof. Chauncey Maher, philosophy department chairman, reports that Sartwell’s class “Political Philosophy” will be taught by Prof. Emeritus Philip Grier, who retired from the department several years ago. Prof. Dan Cozort, associate professor of religion, will teach Sartwell’s class “Topics in Asian Philosophy.”

“We actually got those covered faster than we thought we would,” Maher said. “Not that we didn’t think [Grier] or [Cozort] would be willing, but if they were not willing, we would have had to go look elsewhere, asking people at Gettysburg, or Franklin and Marshall, or HACC [Harrisburg Area Community College] or something like that. So we didn’t have to do that, which was nice.”

Maher said that the department considered several replacements for the political philosophy course, but that Grier is “a life-long expert in political philosophy… [he] has taught this material many times before and was happy to help.”

While there were fewer options for the Asian philosophy course, Maher explained that Cozort “is a world expert on certain parts of Asian philosophy and knows Asian philosophy more broadly.”

According to Maher, professor Cozort hopes to change the regular 1:30 meeting time of Sartwell’s Asian philosophy course, since Cozort teaches again for the religion department at 3 p.m.

“What we’re hoping to do… is have the class meet at half of the same time and then start a little bit earlier so that they get as much time in class as possible, and he intends to confer with them about additional things they can do to make up for possibly having less time in class,” Maher explained.

Sartwell was also overseeing three independent studies this semester. Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy Susan Feldman will take over an independent course on pragmatism, while Maher will cover two separate independent studies on political philosophy. Feldman will also take over all of Sartwell’s advisees in the philosophy department, while Dean of Advising Damon Yarnell will advise any first-year students from Sartwell’s first-year seminar.

According to Weissman, the timeline for the next steps is still “under consideration.”

Maher confirmed that Sartwell remains a faculty member in good standing, but does not know when he will be able to return to teaching.

“The college hopes that he can return to teaching, but we don’t know when that will be,” Maher said.

Sartwell was put on leave on March 3 after college officials received a complaint that he had threatened a scholar at the University of Oklahoma in connection with an accusation of plagiarism he made against the same OU faculty member. Subsequently, Sartwell said in a comment on The Dickinsonian website that the leave “will not be temporary.” In a comment on his blog,, he said that he is “not going to participate …whatsoever” in any “disciplinary process” that the college might initiate against him.

Sartwell also said in a March 6 post, “Honestly, I am done with the plagiarism thing, etc., though of course it may not be done with me. But I find myself so relieved and exhilarated to be out of academia, so profoundly liberated.”