Dr. Antonio Calvo, director of Princeton’s Spanish language program, passed away early last week. Princeton released a brief statement regarding the death on Friday, but has disclosed few details about its circumstances.
The Daily Princetonian writes that Calvo was on a leave of absence — one that began on Friday, April 8, according to IG sources — though the university registrar shows him teaching a class this semester. The only explanation given for the unexpected departure was that it involved “personal reasons.” Now, several individuals with ties to Princeton are saying that Calvo killed himself after Princeton abruptly and unexpectedly terminated his contract. We don’t lightly tread into conjecture about this sort of tragedy, but speculation at Princeton has reached such a fever pitch that the Prince was actually compelled to follow-up on the rumors. We did as well.
In an open letter to the university (available in entirety below the jump), Princeton senior Philip Rothaus — a member of the Spanish department and “close friend” of Calvo’s — presented a timeline of events that paints a much more complete picture of the last few days of the professor’s life.
1. On Friday, April 8, a representative of the administration, essentially a security guard, entered Antonio’s office (without informing either him or anyone else in the department more than a few minutes beforehand), demanded his keys and told him to leave. He was not “on leave,” and certainly not for “personal” reasons,” as per Nassau Hall’s press release. This is a euphemism for their having cancelled his contract against the wishes of the department.
2. He was under a standard 5-year review, as a result of which the Department’s enthusiastic recommendation was to continue his contract. The reappointment committee, if they performed any sort of investigation whatsoever, never interviewed a single member of the department nor Antonio himself.
3. On the morning of Tuesday, April 12 Antonio Calvo committed suicide at home in New York City. He did not merely “pass away” as per Nassau Hall’s official line.
This is a version of events also proposed by Dr. Marco Aponte-Moreno, an actor and academic to whom Calvo was a supervisor at Princeton between 2005 and 2008. Both Rothaus and Aponte have suggested that the university has actively worked to suppress on information about the leave of absence. Read the rest of this entry »