"If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain."

Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.

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February 14, 2010

Student Feedback On Accused Murderer Dr. Amy Bishop

Dr. Amy Bishop,  Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, has been charged with capital murder in connection with a shooting spree that left three wounded and three dead at a faculty meeting on Friday, February 12, 2010. Early reports are that Dr. Bishop open fired at the faculty meeting after it was announced that she had been denied tenure.

The three victims dead at the scene are Department Chair Dr. Gopi K. Podila and Department Faculty Dr. Maria Davis and Dr. Adriel Johnson:


The three wounded are Department Faculty Dr. Joseph Leahy and Dr. Luis Rogelio Cruz-Vera and Department Assistant Stephanie Monticciolo,

Dr. Leahy and Ms. Monticciolo are reported to be in critical condition. Dr. Cruz-Vera is reported to be in stable condition. 

Braintree, Massachusettes authorities indicate that Dr. Bishop shot and killed her younger brother in 1986 when she was 19 and he was 18 years old.  At that time his death was reportedly ruled accidental and Dr. Bishop was never prosecuted.  In light of Friday's massacre,  authorities must now question whether Dr. Bishop's shooting of her 18 year old brother was, in fact, accidental.

Whenever killings of this magnitude occur, we feel compelled to look for signs or clues of the depravity that we believe must exist to allow such ruthlessness. Certainly Dr. Bishop's students are a group with whom she has had substantial interaction on a regular basis over the years. As such, they may have observed such clues or signs.

The website Rate My Professors at www.ratemyprofessors.com claims to publish in the range of ten million student ratings of approximately one million college professors at more than six thousand schools. Among the millions of ratings reported on its website are numerous student ratings of  Dr.  Amy Bishop dating as far back as April 2004 and as recent as May 2009.

Below are quoted excerpts from the student ratings of Dr. Amy Bishop as reported on the Rate My Professors website:
  • "she is a socialist but only talks about it after class"
  • "Dr Bishop is very intelligent but a horrible teacher"
  • "Dr Bishop is an excellent teacher! She is very helpful and nice. She does everything to help students do well. She even offers extra classes! "
  • "Never met anyone who knows more random knowledge. Sci-fi to quantum mechanics with a little art history thrown in the mix"
  • "She's super smart and thinks everyone else is too so sometimes she goes too fast"
  • "She gets off on random**** all the time and is sooo completely scatter brained!"
  • "Dr. Bishop is brilliant. Her research is fascinating. She will surely get the Nobel Prize. She is the best teacher I have ever had."
  • " Her lectures are disorganized"
  • " I am in her lab and her class. She is smart, talks about more stuff than just the book. She lets me sit in her office and study. She always dresses nice. She should stop trying to straighten her hair and go natural!"
  • "Horrible teacher!"
  • "She is an excellent professor! very helpful and very intelligent!"
What a review of Dr. Amy Bishop's student rating shows is that at least in the classroom, Dr. Bishop seems to have been loved and hated much like many other professors.  Certainly no clues or signs of Dr. Bishop's capacity for Friday's massacre is revealed in her student ratings.


  1. I would think that by now the only enlightened persons who will understand this tragedy will be those who understand the science of the soul. Everyone else wants to punish before all the facts are understood. That just creates more suffering and violence.

  2. As I have said on my own blog, she seems to have possessed a talent that is very valuable for a deranged maniac to have: that of being very selective as to the targets of one's mean or nasty behavior. If someone has to be pleased (eg., students in this age of SETs) she is willing and able to do so.

  3. Thanks for your comments.

    We certainly do not have enough information to understand what motivated Dr. Bishop's shooting spree. At this stage I think what is important is for authorities and experts and non-experts alike to gather as much information as possible on all fronts.

  4. Lester Hunt: I understand your comments much better now that I have visited your Blog.

  5. I have lived in Massachusetts for over thirty years as a practicing attorney in employment law and criminal law. I also got two degrees at Harvard University. I feel that the young Amy Bishop always got her way: the academic environment here is a huge force and her father was an academic at Northeastern. To some officials in Braintree or Norfolk County, it made sense to cut her family a break for a promising young daughter.

    She made her way after a day of violence to Harvard. Unfortunately, Harvard is a large old place and accomodates almost anything. Not much vetting there: just being there gets a badge of intellectual distinction. This is unfair because you may be sure that the biologists there did not pay much attention to Amy Bishop. She was not a shining star in all probability. Most of the really distinctive Harvard students drop out before credentialing is completed. She found her way into a new discipline (neuroscience) and argued new concepts until she was passed on. It appears the University biologists saw through her.

    Who can say whether she killed her brother or what made her snap? Harvard was not useful to her or to us and that is my point. This is critically important because she killed and maimed so many. Tenure issues and a dangerous mindset ignited here and it is fair to look back at Harvard and ask what-- with its billions of dollars and prestige-- its part was here.

  6. So no Jews emigrated from Greece?

  7. Thnaks for your comments.

    Anon. said: "I have lived in Massachusetts for over thirty years as a practicing attorney in employment law and criminal law. I also got two degrees at Harvard University."

    I can't help but wonder if another reason Dr. Bishop was allowed to 'hang around' Harvard so long was because speculation continued that Amy Bishop was behind the pipe bomb incident.

    Why take on someone who may retaliate with violence when the safer course is just to wait till Dr. Bishop leaves Harvard on her own accord, which she finally did in 2003.

  8. Thanks for keeping this still online. I was shocked to see this was done by Bishop. what was the conclusion for here case?

    Student Feedback Questionnaire