Cold-fusion pioneer B. Stanley Pons is negotiating his future at the University of Utah, and officials won't say whether he will show up to teach a class that starts Monday.

Attorneys representing Pons and officials at the school would not discuss specifics of the negotiations except to say Pons would rather work on his research than teach.There has been speculation that Pons is unhappy at the school and reports of a strained relationship with Dr. Fritz Will, director of the National Cold Fusion Institute at the U.'s research park.

Pons asked for sabbatical leave from the institution in November and has sold his Salt Lake home. His whereabouts were not immediately known and he could not be reached for comment.

His attorney, C. Gary Triggs, would say only that the chemist and the school were negotiating and that a decision would be reached next week. He expressed confidence that Pons would remain affiliated with the school.

Pons is scheduled to teach a class Monday. Chemistry department chairman Peter Stang said nine students have signed up for the class.

"As far as I know, that class has not been canceled," Stang said. He referred questions about who will teach it to the university's administration.

John Morris, associate vice president for academic affairs, said he could not respond "at this point. That's part of the negotiations," he said.