“His boys.” I know what is being said here and I recognize the basis for it. I never really felt that that was pushed to the point of anything damaging or dangerous. His students, the group of students, the cult, if it is a cult, they loved him. They loved what he was doing. Whether they would’ve gotten from him the kinds of things that would make them good students in the normal sense, in the academic sense, I don’t know. I suspect that the way he taught them gave them something they weren’t getting in other courses, but missed a lot that they would’ve gotten in other courses and perhaps should’ve gotten. I should add that Bob was an extraordinarily sensitive person, a gentle person basically in my view. And one who, well this is unfortunate phrasing, could very easily insinuate himself into the thoughts and being of another person. I think all of us perhaps in the department were a little worried that you could push too far the attempt to be liked by and relate to your students. This can in some circumstances detract from your capacity to be what a professor ought to be. But I wouldn’t say we were jealous of Bob. At least those of us who were fairly secure in our own self image didn’t feel jealous of him. It didn’t bother me at all. I know who I was and what kind of teaching I wanted to do and I did it. The fact that he was doing his somewhat differently interested me but didn’t affect me. I didn’t try to emulate any of his capacity to be loved by his students.

Vince Barnett,
Former Political Science Department Chairman