In 2011, The New Hampshire’s editorial page forcefully criticized the actions of Dr. Edward Larkin and called for University of New Hampshire students to boycott his classes. This week, Larkin was back in the headlines as his three-year probation from the classroom reached its end.
In 2009, the professor of German language exposed his genitals to a woman and her then 17-year-old daughter in a Milford Market Basket parking lot; he was charged with a misdemeanor. Larkin did not have to register as a sex offender; therefore he is not required by law nor University standards to inform his students of the incident. Larkin plead guilty to the charge, paid a $600 fine and underwent a psychiatric evaluation.
Three years later, The New Hampshire’s editorial stance remains that it is inappropriate for this individual to teach undergraduate courses on the UNH campus without revealing this past incident.
The UNH administration seems to agree with this stance. The administration tried to fire Larkin, but an arbitration hearing found that “the university did not have just cause to terminate him.”
Arbitrator Michael Ryan said in 2011 that Larkin’s actions constituted “moral delinquency,” but “not moral delinquency of grave order.”
Where is the line drawn? Such results from the hearing suggest that there must be details surrounding the case that we are currently unaware of. What were the circumstances of the event? Why did the court not require Larkin to register as a sex offender?
The arbitrator’s decision further suggests that there is a spectrum of moral delinquency. Apparently, revealing one’s genitals to a mother and her teenage daughter is considered insignificant on this spectrum.
It is unfair to leave students in the dark about this matter. Students were probably wondering last week why a WMUR news reporter was waiting outside their classroom. They will likely have questions when they return to class today.
This is a situation that requires transparency and someone must speak for the students.
In 2011, the Student Senate responded with a drafted resolution that called for Larkin’s resignation. So far, we have heard nothing about the matter from neither the Student Senate nor Student Body President Joseph Sweeney. Why were these representatives quick to act in 2011, but have failed to address the matter now?
Questions are swirling around this situation as they did three years ago and we continue to look for the answers. But it seems that many have forgotten and perhaps that is what the University and the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures had hoped for.