BGSU Firelands prof says he's misunderstood
Donald Pryor wants everyone to know he's not a menace to society.
The 34-year-old adjunct professor of biology and chemistry at BGSU Firelands said he also wants people to understand he's not an arrogant, overpaid, troublemaking college professor. And he said he's not trying to challenge prosecutors who filed a misdemeanor charge against him after he sent an alleged threatening e-mail more than a week ago to another professor.
"I want this to go away, with no damage to anybody," Pryor said Friday.
Pryor, who said he is a private person who dislikes even good publicity, has suffered from several days of the bad variety after sending an angry e-mail to full-time science faculty member Christine Genovese.
The e-mail allegedly stated in part, "May God punish my enemies since I can't. ...no money and no power. Which power is ... I know I shouldn't say this ... but exactly what I seek. I will go with my gut vibe and say go f*** yourself."
Pryor, who said he never threatened violence against anyone and was only trying to vent, faces a first-degree misdemeanor count of telecommunications harassment. The college assigned someone else to finish teaching his classes and doesn't plan to renew his teaching contract.
He said Genovese likes to fight and "was very loud. I guess I kind of matched her yelling in an e-mail."
Pryor said he did not commit a crime, but admitted "I shouldn't have reacted the way I did."
"I'm intense sometimes," he said. "I may cover it up, but I can be intense."
The fuss and overreaction about his e-mail has been bad for the students, Pryor added.
"They are in the middle of getting ready for finals," he said. "Why add to their stress levels?"
Pryor said he has nothing but good things to say about Genovese.
"I think she's very competent," he said. "I think she's a very good instructor. She's good at what she does."
Pryor said he did have disagreements with Genovese. Pryor missed a class when his mother almost died and was in intensive care in the hospital and felt it was unfair to be criticized about the incident.
"My mother gets sick, and that's used as a platform to show I'm incompetent," he said.
The adjunct professor said he has a master's degree in chemistry from Bowling Green, made $49,000 a year in private industry and gave it up because he wanted to teach. He said BGSU Firelands paid him $7,000 to teach during the spring semester in a non-tenure track position.
"I love teaching," Pryor said. "I love the students. I love the field. I didn't do it for the money."
Pryor said he enjoyed his time at BGSU Firelands and 99.9 percent of the people he encountered were great.
"The faculty, fantastic. The students, fantastic," he said.
The deputy investigating Pryor's case said the professor had been reportedly "acting strangely" and told to leave late at night after violating a rule everyone must leave campus by 11 p.m.
"It was just ignorance," he said. "I didn't know there was a curfew ... I stayed before and didn't have any issues."
Pryor said he stayed late on campus to prepare for classes, putting together PowerPoint presentations and tests.
"The reason I wasn't working at home was because I was too poor to afford a computer," he said.
Pryor said his work before coming to BGSU Firelands included breast cancer research, which has been published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and the Journal of Biochemistry.
Pryor's public image has not been improved by the unflattering jail mug shot the Sandusky Register has ran next to articles about him.
"That was pretty scary stuff," Pryor said. "I look guilty, don't I?"
Pryor's photograph on his faculty ID card is a small photograph of a well-dressed, smiling man. Pryor gave permission for this paper to use his faculty photo, but a college spokeswoman explained the picture is so small it would not reproduce when blown up to normal size.