William Babula, a Shakespeare scholar and dean of Sonoma State University's School of Arts and Humanities, will retire in June, it was announced Thursday.

Babula will be replaced on an interim basis by associate professor Thaine Stearns, head of the English department, the university said.

Babula joined SSU in 1981. He is the author of a series of detective novels set in San Francisco and featuring a private eye named Jeremiah St. John, a towering Seminole Indian and a former Playboy model and ex-cop.

A playwright, Babula was also, in 2008, a finalist in the New Yorker magazine's popular Cartoon Caption Contest.

In 2007, he was among faculty members who spoke out against a faculty-led vote of no-confidence held against SSU President Ruben Armi?na.

He that while the issues raised by Armi?na's critics should be discussed, the vote was a "symbolic" and unnecessary.

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