David Protess, embattled director of the Medill Innocence Project, is on leave — a leave that as described by Northwestern University, sounds a lot like Coventry. The following statement comes Tuesday from Alan Cubbage, Northwestern University’s vice president for university relations:

“Professor David Protess will be on leave from Northwestern University for Spring Quarter 2011. While on leave, Professor Protess will have no faculty responsibilities, including teaching or serving as Director of the Medill Innocence Project. During the Spring Quarter, the important work of both the class on investigative journalism and of the Innocence Project will continue under the direction of Medill investigative journalist and tenured full professor Alec Klein.”

But news that Protess isn’t teaching this semester isn’t new. Here’s the Sun-Times saying so on March 18.

Meanwhile, the Daily Northwestern reported Tuesday what Protess says he will be doing: establishing an “autonomous Innocence Project.” This will be “a nonprofit organization devoted to investigative reporting of criminal justice issues,” and it will “closely resemble that of the Medill Innocence Project, which has freed 12 innocent men from prison, including five from death row, since Protess started it in 1996.”

The Daily Northwestern continued: