Boston University has the faculty, staff, and financial resources to become one of the nation's great research institutions. One obstacle in that path has always been the unpredictable behavior of John Silber, a master builder whose norms of academic freedom are not universally accepted. It is also hard to take seriously a university where the president, Jon Westling, lacks the basic teaching credential -- a doctoral degree -- required of assistant professors nationwide.
It is not widely known that the man to whom both Silber and Westling answer is Boston lawyer Earle Cooley, chairman of the BU board of trustees and chairman of the board's executive committee. For over a decade, Cooley has zealously defended the interests of the Church of Scientology, which a 1991 Time magazine cover story called "a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner."
Cooley, a BU alumnus who loves BU and has devoted his time, money, and legal skills to the university, says -- and Silber agrees -- that his alliance with Scientology has never colored his work for what was once one of America's great Methodist institutions. But whenever Cooley and I discussed the excesses committed by the church -- the harassment of a journalist, for instance -- he said he had no knowledge of illegal activities.
Search | Saved Search | Login | Tips | FAQ | Pricing | Account | Help | About | Terms