Mitch Marrow accused the History professor of being anti-Semitic and biased against athletes. Is History Professor Bruce Kuklick, as football star Mitch Marrow alleges, biased against Jews and athletes? With the University's internal investigation into Marrow's academic eligibility expected to wrap up this week, campus is abuzz with the athlete's personal attacks at Kuklick -- not over Marrow's possible violation of NCAA regulations, which could lead to the Quakers forfeiting much of their season. But several of Kuklick's colleagues insist that the charges should not be allowed to deflect attention from the more serious issues raised by the investigation. The University is looking into the circumstances behind Marrow's attempt to enroll in an independent study course with Legal Studies Professor Ken Shropshire last month during the last week of the football season. Marrow, a fifth-year College senior, had been enrolled in only two courses for most of the season, making him a part-time student and thus ineligible to play college sports. Kuklick, the History undergraduate chairperson, and History Department Chairperson Lynn Lees had rebuffed Marrow's earlier attempts to enroll in an independent study with first-year History Professor Beth Wenger. Marrow's course with Shropshire was approved by College of Arts and Sciences Director Diane Frey, but her boss, College Dean Robert Rescorla, overturned her decision. Last week, Marrow, who is Jewish, told several newspapers that Kuklick's involvement in the controversy arose out of his anti-Semitism and bias against athletes. Marrow's charges of anti-Semitism stem from a 1995 confrontation during which Kuklick accused him of plagiarism and allegedly made an anti-Semitic remark to Marrow. Marrow refused to describe the comment to The Daily Pennsylvanian. Though Kuklick has declined to comment specifically on the situation or on Marrow's allegations, last night he obliquely refuted the charges of anti-athlete bias in a conversation about his love of sports. "Did Bart Giamatti hate athletics because he kicked Pete Rose out of baseball?" he asked. "I love athletics, but I hate its corruption." He spoke proudly about his nephew Brian Kuklick, 21, this year's starting quarterback for the Wake Forest University football team and a second-team Atlantic Coast Conference all-star with NFL prospects. Kuklick described Brian as one of his family's "pride and joys," and said they spent the day together on Thanksgiving -- the day The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported his involvement with Marrow's eligibility question. Marrow accused Kuklick of tipping the Inquirer to the story, a charge the professor has denied. "There's a family joke between my brother [Brian's father, Glen Kuklick] and me that there are two different games -- one is called football, and the other is called Ivy League football," he joked. "I spend a lot of time defending Ivy athletics to them." Kuklick, who studies recent American history, won national honors for his 1991 book, To Everything a Season, about Philadelphia's now-dismantled Shibe Park baseball stadium and the city's relationship with its sports teams. And while Kuklick offered his love of sports as proof against an "anti-athlete bias," several of his colleagues blasted Marrow's charge of anti-Semitism as a red herring. In an e-mail to a Daily Pennsylvanian reporter, History Professor Tom Sugrue described Marrow's charges as "bizarre." Sugrue said Marrow and his attorney, Arthur Marion, hoped to deflect attention away from the Athletic Department with their "inflammatory rhetoric." Wenger stressed that charges of anti-Semitism "should not be allowed to serve as a trump card," adding that she was disturbed to see the issue used as a "pawn." Members of a four-person panel investigating the Athletic Department's handling of Marrow's eligibility have refused to comment on their work. With very few people who know anything about the situation willing to discuss it, Marrow's charges easily took the spotlight last week. But the panel will probably not even examine how the story came to light, according to University spokesperson Ken Wildes. Kuklick's involvement in the situation is not likely to be discussed in the report, he said. The real issues, Kuklick's supporters say, deal with academic integrity, not bias. Even if Kuklick does bear personal grudges against Marrow, Wenger, Lees and Rescorla all said or implied the History professor acted properly in denying Marrow's request for an independent study with Wenger. But Kuklick's colleagues were quick to defend him against Marrow's charges of anti-Semitism, no matter how irrelevant they insisted the charges are to the investigation. "To see a man like Bruce Kuklick, who's a strong supporter of Jewish history and has nothing but the best relationship with Jews on campus, [the accusation of anti-Semitism] is painful," Wenger said. "It is crucial for those of us interested in combating anti-Semitism when it does exist to protest loudly when accusations of anti-Semitism are unjust and unfounded," she added. Hebrew Lecturer Nechama Sataty, an Israeli Jew, has known Kuklick since she stayed at his house 20 years ago as a graduate student in American history. She said Marrow's claims had "absolutely no validity," and that Kuklick and his then-wife, History and Sociology of Science Professor Henrika Kuklick, accepted Sataty as part of their family. "[Kuklick] is a humanist," she said. "He never would utter any derogatory remark or anything even close to the notion of an anti-Semitic remark to anybody," she said. Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer Tammy Reiss contributed to this article.Comments powered by Disqus
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