The news became public the day after Wisconsin's Supreme Court upheld the state's new anti-union legislation. As Jack Stripling writes,
Ms. Martin was emphatic that the failure of the proposal to break the flagship campus from the university system, a quietly devised plan that drew the consternation of the system's Board of Regents when they learned of it, was not among the reasons for her departure.Being president of well-endowed Amherst -- and living in that part of the country we New Englanders simply refer to as "The Valley" is a sweet deal, however you cut it, particularly if you are a lesbian. (Is Martin the first out lesbian college prez? Enquiring minds want to know.) Those who follow the progress of top administrators can't help but think that Martin is headed for the presidency of a major research institution after she proves her leadership skills with the Lord Jeffs -- a school which, by the way, has a fantastic faculty, but which Zenith hammers in rowing several times a year.
"Amherst would have been an attractive possibility to me at any point, because of my own history, what I feel like I owe to liberal-arts education," Ms. Martin said. "What role the actual events of the past year have played, it's hard to say. Maybe a year from now, it will be clear to me what various strands went into the braid of this decision. What I can tell you, honestly, is I'm not leaving because I didn't like the outcome in the Legislature."
I think Biddy Martin will do a great job at Amherst, but that won't change any time soon unless she can bring a few Wisco oarsmen and women with her.