He is also one of the world’s foremost authorities on Bigfoot, the mythical smelly ape-man of the Northwest woods. And Meldrum firmly believes the lumbering, shaggy brute exists.

That makes him an outcast – a solitary, Sasquatch-like figure himself – on the 12,700-student campus, where many scientists are embarrassed by what they call Meldrum’s “pseudo-academic” pursuits and have called on the university to review his work with an eye toward revoking his tenure. One physics professor, D.P. Wells, wonders whether Meldrum plans to research Santa Claus, too.

Meldrum, 48, spends most of his days in his laboratory in the Life Sciences Building, analyzing more than 200 jumbo plaster casts of what he contends are Bigfoot footprints.

For the past 10 years, he has added his scholarly sounding research to a field full of sham videos and supermarket tabloid exposes. And he is convinced he has produced a body of evidence that proves there is a Bigfoot.

John Kijinski, dean of arts and sciences, said there have been “grumblings” about Meldrum’s tenure, but no formal request for a review.

“He’s a bona fide scientist,” Kijinski said. “I think he helps this university. He provides a form of open discussion and dissenting viewpoints that may not be popular with the scientific community, but that’s what academics all about.”

Over the summer, more than 30 professors signed a petition criticizing the university for hosting a Bigfoot symposium where Meldrum was the keynote speaker.

He pays for his research with a $30,000 donation from a Bigfoot believer.

Meldrum wonders aloud how much longer he will be on the faculty. But he said he also dreams of one day bringing back a bone or a tooth or some skin, and silencing the “stuffy academics.”

“Is the theory of exploration dead?” he asked. “I’m not out to proselytize that Bigfoot exists. I place legend under scrutiny and my conclusion is, absolutely, Bigfoot exists.”


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