Academics strive to become experts in their subjects. But George Harker seems to have gone a little too far seeking expertise in his. An associate professor who taught courses in the philosophy and history of leisure, Harker was fired on June 20 by Western Illinois University for, among other things, taking too much time off and being absent from teaching without a good excuse. One accusation: The professor was vacationing in Hawaii in late 1989 when he should have been teaching class.
Harker, an expert on nude beaches who frequently serves as a witness on the subject, says he was there to testify. But the Illinois board of governors sided with the university last month in an 8-0 vote, and Harker became one of the few academics to be stripped of tenure. When BUSINESS WEEK asked the university where the professor could be reached, a spokesman replied: "The last we heard, he'd gone to Hawaii."