Unspinning the Law Prof Spin

Earlier this week, the Clinton campaign challenged Barack Obama’s claims that he was a University of Chicago law professor. So, we phoned up U Chicago for their take. The school’s press office indicated that he was technically a senior lecturer but not a professor.

Now it appears they’ve changed their story —or at least nuanced it a bit. They reiterate that he never held the title professor , but they say senior lecturers are, in fact, considered professors. It’s a point that one of our colleagues over at Convictions already made—that yes, technically senior lecturer and professor is not the same title but that trying to tease them apart as proof that Obama deliberately lied is just silly.

Here’s the university’s official statement:

From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School’s Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.