Anne Allen: Shrooms and Suspense

Shrooms, zooms, and everything goes boom. Professor Anne Allen is currently on academic leave without pay, says IUS Arts and Letters Dean Barbara Kutis.  

If you’re new to IUS, Allen was charged on Feb. 22, 2022 with dealing a controlled substance— specifically illegal mushrooms—after police executed a search warrant at her Floyd County home.  

A year later, we still know so little. A July 24 trial has been set. 

With this being an ongoing investigation, we expect to know only a bit, but a year later? Come on! Last month, we emailed both Professor Allen and Professor Debra Clem, the latter of which publicly defended Allen in The Horizon. Neither has responded.  

As journalism students, we are learning to understand the importance of due process and respecting individuals’ privacy during ongoing investigations. Nonetheless, the lack of transparency and information from IUS is alarming. A major incident like this calls for a swift response from the university and authorities. Students, faculty, alumni, and the community at large deserve a conclusion to an incident like this that affected a professor whom many may have known. 

It’s not uncommon for universities to be tight-lipped about ongoing cases concerning faculty in order to protect all of the parties involved. But seriously…it has been over a year! At the time of her arrest, students taking her classes were left in the dark as to what happened—until they learned of the criminal case in The Horizon or in televised news reports. In one course, our Horizon colleague Dawson Swift got word that the class was abruptly ending with whatever grade they had at the time—in his case, an “A.”  

Interestingly, Jim Hesselman, who was then-dean of Arts and Letters, told Horizon reporters last year that Allen’s spring 2022 courses would “continue to progress at normal pace through the Fine Art program’s guidance and oversight.” 

Yet Dawson Swift’s class ended prematurely? 

We hope that IUS will provide an update on the situation soon. As a community, we have a right to know about internal disputes in the university and any violations of ethical conduct taking place. We urge the university to be timely, transparent, and fair with not only this case, but with all current and future incidents that may arise.