Former astronaut Sally Ride may be the next big name to quit the nation's top arms control center, putting pressure on Stanford University to change its policy on professorial appointments, a newspaper reported.
Ride is concerned about the resignation of physicist Sidney Drell and made her intentions known through colleague Theodore Postol, a nuclear engineer and physicist, the San Jose Mercury News said.Earlier this week, Drell resigned as co-director of the Stanford Center for International Security and Arms Control because the "think tank" is not considered an academic department and consequently has no control over the appointment of professors.
The center, which studies the technical, political and economic aspects of arms control, last year lured Ride to join a prestigious faculty that includes scientists, ambassadors and journalists. She has declined interviews since coming to Stanford.
Postol said Ride told him she was "seriously looking around for other things because of this," referring to the resignation of Drell.
Postol also said he was considering leaving Stanford.
"It's not that my mind is made up," Postol, a nuclear engineer and physicist, said Tuesday. "I don't see any motion at Stanford. Other universities are aggressively putting together packages for me.
"I'm resigned to the fact that these characters are going to continue their policy of neglect and inaction," he said of Stanford officials.
The center is considered one of the most important in the nation for experts to study the technical, political and economic aspects of arms control. Last year it organized a major conference for global leaders on arms issues.
Co-director John Lewis, an expert on Chinese politics who said he had no plans to leave, said the center thrives because it attracts experts from a variety of fields.
"No real problem on arms control can be solved by one discipline," he said.
Drell decided to leave the center after five years because he felt without the power to appoint professors, it could not offer the nation's top minds job security, competitive salary and the ability to do grant work.
University President Donald Kennedy said Drell's departure may force officials to alter their policy.