Walter Cocking was an academic administrator and the namesake for the 1941 controversy, the Cocking affair.
Early life and education
Cocking initially held academic administrative positions in Iowa, Texas, and Missouri. He then spent five years as professor of school administration at the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee. From 1933 to 1937, he was the commissioner of education for Tennessee.
University of Georgia
In 1937, Cocking was hired to improve academic standards at the University of Georgia's College of Education. While there he developed several reforms but had a "brash and domineering style". In 1941, Georgia governor Eugene Talmadge insisted to the Georgia Board of Regents that Cocking be fired, sparking the Cocking affair. After initially not rehiring Cocking in an 8-4 vote, University of Georgia president Harmon Caldwell threatened to resign unless Cocking's case was reheard. After hearing evidence, the Georgia Board of Regents rehired Cocking in an 8-7 vote; this decision infuriated Talmadge, who proceeded to fire and replace any on the Board of Regents who opposed the governor. At the following Board of Regents meeting, Cocking was again fired, in a 10-5 vote.
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