Pulitzer Prize-Winning Professor Suspended for Lying To Students about Vietnam
SOUTH HADLEY, Mass.A Pulitzer Prize-winning history professor who admitted he lied to his students about being a Vietnam combat veteran will be suspended for a year without pay, say Mount Holyoke College officials. Joseph J. Ellis, 57, also must give up his endowed chair at the college. “I strongly rebuke Prof. Ellis for his lie about his military experience,” Mount Holyoke President Joanne Creighton said. “The year away should give him and the college time for reflection and repair. This sanction is consistent with our honor code for students and its emphasis on education, reflection and ultimately restoration to an honorable place in our community.” Creighton, who defended Ellis before an internal investigation, said she alone made the decision about his punishment. Eleanor Claus, chairman of the college’s board of trustees, said the board supported Creighton. “We think she’s a fine president, and we want to move on.” Ellis became a popular professor in part by sharing his experiences in Vietnam. He issued an apology in June after The Boston Globe reported that he had never served overseas. “The tumultuous events of the summer have been all-consuming and deeply painful for me, my family and many members of the Mount Holyoke community,” Ellis said. “I am solely responsible and wish to express my personal regret to all students, faculty, and administrators who have been affected.” In a statement Ellis said he accepted the sanctions determined by Creighton, adding he would spend the next year working on a new book. The integrity of Ellis’ book was never called into question. He won the 2001 Pulitzer for history for his best seller Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation.
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