The San José State University professor who drew criticism for opposing reburying Native American bones and for posing with a skull is retiring.
Elizabeth Weiss co-wrote the 2020 book Repatriation and Erasing the Past, arguing that returning bones to their ancestral burial grounds instead of keeping them to study limits scientific advancement.
In September 2021, she tweeted, “So happy to be back with some old friends @SJSU” alongside a picture of herself smiling and holding a skull.
In early 2022, she sued the university, alleging retaliation for her stance on repatriating remains. On June 19, she agreed to a settlement with the California State University Board of Trustees, which oversees San José State, in exchange for her dropping her suit.
The settlement says she will retire in May 2024 and will likely be granted emeritus status. But she can effectively move on immediately.
“Dr. Weiss shall have no teaching assignments and no university service obligation; her only assignment will be to establish a new research, scholarly or creative activity agenda, which will not require any submission (as in the form of a proposal), review or approval from CSU,” the agreement says. “Dr. Weiss has full approval to spend the entire academic year 2023-2024 in New York City as a faculty fellow with
Heterodox Academy at the Center for Academic Pluralism.”
Heterodox Academy describes itself as a membership organization “committed to advancing the principles of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement to improve higher education and academic research.”