Reports are circulating that Norman G. Finkelstein, the author of controversial works on Israel, anti-Semitism, and what he has called "the Holocaust industry," will be denied tenure at DePaul University despite strong departmental support. Mr. Finkelstein, an assistant professor of political science, told The Chronicle in an e-mail message that he had been the target of "external intrusion in the tenure process — including a relentless campaign of character assassination directed at the faculty and administration" by his critics.
He said that his department had voted 9-to-3 in his favor and that the College Personnel Committee had unanimously recommended tenure, but that the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences had overridden those recommendations. The dean, Charles S. Suchar, declined to comment on Mr. Finkelstein's allegations. "The promotion and tenure review process is still under way and final decisions are not expected until mid- to late May," he wrote in an e-mail message.
Michael L. Budde, chairman of the political-science department at DePaul, confirmed that Mr. Finkelstein's colleagues had voted in favor of tenure. According to Mr. Budde, the case now will go to a universitywide promotion board, which will recommend a course of action to the provost and the president. That board is scheduled to meet on April 13. The university's final decision is expected in mid-May.
Mr. Finkelstein has long been a controversial figure in academe. His most recent book, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (University of California Press, 2005), stirred up pre-publication threats of legal action by one of its subjects, the Harvard Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz.