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Ex-University President to Regain Teaching Post

December 4, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Richard Berendzen, who quit as president of American University before pleading guilty to making obscene telephone calls, will return to teaching at the school after more than a year on paid administrative leave.

Berendzen will resume his duties as a full professor of physics in the spring of 1992, interim President Milton Greenberg said Monday.

″I have assured Dr. Berendzen that The American University community stands ready to assist him in his return to faculty status,″ Greenberg said in a written statement. ″In reaching this agreement, Dr. Berendzen has assured me of his continued desire for harmony within our university.″

Berendzen told the university in June he wanted to return to his teaching position, but was told some in the school would not welcome him back. At that point, he said, his attorneys started negotiating a buyout of his contract.

News that the university was ready to offer him $1 million led to protests by campus groups. Greenberg asked trustees to rescind any such offer because it was causing ″serious rifts.″

Berendzen will return as a regular tenured faculty member in the physics department with normal teaching duties, Greenberg’s statement said.

″He will be paid at a salary appropriate to his faculty rank. He will be on administrative leave with pay, at his faculty salary, for the 1990-91 academic year and the fall 1991 semester,″ the statement said.

University Vice President Don Triezenberg told The Washington Post that the salary was in the $70,000 range. The agreement, subjected to approval by university trustees, also includes presidential severance pay reportedly totaling $380,000.

Berendzen was given two 30-day jail sentences by a Fairfax County, Va., judge in May after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of making obscene calls to a woman. The jail terms were suspended pending completion of psychiatric treatment Berendzen agreed to continue. He had quit as president abruptly in April.

The trustees will hear testimony from students, faculty members and administrators before acting on the agreement, said a student group, ″Wanted: A Voice,″ that had argued for open discussion of the matter.

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