David Protess was one of the most admired professors in America. Not only did he exonerate twelve unjustly imprisoned men, five of them awaiting execution, he also taught his students how to do it. Yet over the past two years, Northwestern University, his academic home for nearly thirty years, has smeared him in the press, removed him from his teaching duties, and last spring, the university accepted his resignation.
The fall of David Protess is told at length in this excellent article by Bryan Smith in Chicago magazine. Yet Iit is hard to imagine that the full story has been revealed. “What I still don’t get is why they would allow the Babe Ruth of their school to be destroyed,” Charles Lewis told Smith. Lewis is a journalism professor at American University, a MacArthur Fellow and the founder of the Center for Public Integrity. “Or if not destroyed then impugned to such an extent that he was taken out inside their own school by the suits. It just doesn’t smell good.”