Roberta Schönemann, editor of the Lafayette Independent, vice president of communications at the Indiana Civil Liberties Union and a former mathematics advisor at Purdue University has donated her late husband’s papers to the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism at Ferris State University’s archives.
Peter H. Schönnemann (July 15, 1929-April 7, 2010) was a German-born psychometrician and statistical expert. He was a professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue for most of his career. His research focus was on test theory and quantitative behavior genetics as well as the use of mathematical tools for social science research. Schönnemann published approximately 90 papers, many of which dealing with debunking scientifically-sanctioned racist theories of intelligence.
Ferris State University professor Barry Mehler and Schönemann were long-time friends and colleagues. They served together on a congressional investigation into the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s academic standards and policies for student-athletes in 1994. Schönnemann was born under the shadow of Adolf Hitler, survived the firebombing of Dresden, swam the Elbe River to escape from East Germany and came to the United States where he studied under Raymond B. Cattell. Unlike Cattell’s other students, Schönemann became a vocal critique of his mentor, who championed racial theories of intelligence.
Mehler believes Schönemann’s papers will be a valuable addition to the ISAR archives and that they will allow students to conduct do original research into the history of this important academic controversy.