Students who staged a sit-in this month at DePaul University on behalf of two professors denied tenure said today they would begin a fast this afternoon to bring renewed attention to their cause. During two weeks of protest, the students have demanded that the university grant tenure to Norman G. Finkelstein, an assistant professor of political science, and Mehrene A. Larudee, an assistant professor of international studies.
On Friday the Illinois Conference of the American Association of University Professors sent a letter to the university's president, the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, echoing the students' demands. In the two-page letter, Leo Welch, the chapter's president, says the decision to deny tenure to the two assistant professors violated both the association's standards and those of DePaul's own Faculty Handbook.
Mr. Finkelstein's alleged lack of "collegiality" appears to have been the "sole basis" for denying him tenure, Mr. Welch writes. "It is entirely illegitimate for a university to deny tenure to a professor out of fear that his published research … might hurt a college's reputation," he says. The association has explicitly rejected collegiality as an appropriate criterion for evaluating faculty members, and has criticized it as "ensuring homogeneity" and undermining the leadership role of colleges and universities, according to the letter.
It is unfortunate that the university administrators pay more attention to politics than to academics. The two professors deserve tenure because they meet the tenure criteria.
— Kan Chandras Jun 25, 03:53 PM #
The protesting students appear to have more backbone and character than faculty members around the country. We are in a new (and sad) era of McCarthyism and anti-intellectualism. In the name of Israel and American super-patriotism, normally decent and honorable faculty members stand silent! Remember, if "these" people can be "gotten," you can be too! It has happened before, and the climate of American chauvinism has never been worse for open dialogue.
Donald M. Freeman
— Donald M. Freeman Jun 25, 03:58 PM #
Anyone who fasts for Norman Finkelstein better get used to being hungry. He did not get tenure becasue he was NOT ACADEMICALLY QUALIFIED, not because of any other reasons. Let him get a job where he belongs, like in QUatar, Libya, or Saudi Arabia. Let him work in Iran, I am sure they will give him tenure there. He is not an academic who has had jpapers published, just his books on the Holocaust, in which he has PROFITED!
— Allyson Rowen Taylor Jun 25, 09:34 PM #
Here is yet another example of an outdated dysfunctional academic system at work – tenure is a biased entitlement to which no one should be proud. In the real world, we all undergo continual review of our life's efforts whether at work, home, or in our community. Academics should be no less of a process. If we evaluate our faculty in this light we would certainly get rid of many who are unworthy of the title and admit others who could be a credit to the proud profession. I wish the students would focus on learning how to read and write rather than seeking political judgement. Mr. Finkelstein may "deserve" tenure under this current system, but it would be a hollow honor with a tremendous amount of tarnish.
— David Jun 26, 07:52 AM #
As one of the students fasting for Professors Finkelstein and Larudee, I can report that we have been improving our reading and writing skills while protesting injustice. We only wish more people were committed to this double burden.
In response to David's comment, tenure is a review of a professor's "life efforts" and denial of tenure is tantamount to being fired. It is not a "hollow honor;" it is his job.
— Kathryn Weber Jun 26, 10:29 AM #
Well now that school is out, his childrens' crusade has another love-in planned.
Don't any of them have summer jobs, or anything else to do?
I suppose not. Let them eat their secreted Mars bars!
Universities are not required to grant tenure to vicious, clownish bogus academics who peddle opinion as "study." And these cheap pressure tactics by a group of brainwashed kids is pathetic.
— harry Jun 26, 11:33 AM #
It is truly alarming when an institution of Depaul's stature, caves to the right wing Israli lobby putting its purse before its academic standing.
— Allen Zimmerman Jun 26, 11:52 AM #
If I were a student, I'd make sure that both of these professors had strong research and publication histories. Otherwise no amount of indignation or starvation will sway a tenure committee. I'm told both of these professors "talked the talk" but failed to "walk the walk" when it came to research and publication. Don't they know that if they don't play'a the game, they no make'a the rules?
— Marci Jun 26, 02:41 PM #
Marci is off. I just looked at Amazon and Finkelstein has tons of publications.
— Gabriel Jun 26, 04:38 PM #
Sure he has tons publications. It is propaganda and not scholarship. It is hate propaganda and it is cheap. Finkelstein will probably shill himself out to the Saudi lobby. He is not likely to go hungry. Why should college kids?
— Mark Silinsky Jun 26, 05:00 PM #
I see Kathryn and her ilk have been standing in the sun too long, likely with their sense of what is right influenced by the lack of nourishment. I am indeed sorry that tenure is the process that it is – political, biased and without honor or merit. I did not create the process any more than Kathryn wrote the opinion of DePaul's tenure committee.
So be it. As long as we use this kind of process to value our educational process, we will be the real victims of its woes.
While Harry is dead on, it is unfortunate that this happens as often as it does. A political process – based on who's right rather than what's right will continue to produce this poor quality of result nearly every time.
— David Jun 26, 09:58 PM #
It is my understanding that Prof. Finkelstein was approved for tenure by his Department and College and denied tenure by higher administration, probably as a result of political pressure from outside the University. Shame on DePaul University!
— Shimon Gottschalk,Prof. Emeritus Jun 26, 10:08 PM #
Please. All of his book publications are published with the best university presses or with Routledge. That means they have been peer-reviewed up the wazzoo before they got out. People who are not in academia have no idea what it means to publish with a university press— the rigorous process of review and re-review that goes on to get your book published with one of these presses. Finkelstein, on his publication record alone, should probably be teaching at an Ivy league school.
— BC Jun 26, 10:08 PM #
Mark Silinsky – are you a better judge of academic scholarship than the ‘father' of Holocaust scholarship – Professor Raul Hilberg – or the world famous and respected Professor Avi Schlaim?????
They BOTH have written that Finkelstien is an excellent, first-rate scholar and both say his name will go down in history for thewriting of history!!! That is a MASSIVE endorsement of Finkelstein.
— Martin Jun 26, 10:20 PM #
It is shocking to see the level of vitriol from the Israel-first enthusiasts. I guess it's not enough to "win" but the intimidation has to be spread around a little. As a professor who admires both Finkelstein's scholarship and his candor, I find it disappointing to see a fine university bow down to the Israel lobby and pretend it is doing something else. Finkelstein clearly meets the bar for tenure and has outstripped most of his colleagues at DePaul (I am one of them), but there is some fear operating. A look at the comments above shows why. The rabid zionists scared this Catholic university. Afraid to look anti-semitic, DePaul now looks just plain unprincipled. Finkelstein will land on his feet but DePaul will take a long time to recover.
— anonymous professor Jun 27, 12:36 AM #
There is a palapable concern (in the comments above) that only scholarship be rewarded by tenure. In light of that, perhaps people who posted comments can give clear answers to the following:
- why is political science writing on Arab Israeli issues not capable of being scholarship?
- or have Allyson and Mark read all of Finkelstein's oeuvre and found that it fails to meet scholarly standards? I would find that hard to believe: Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford Univesity expressly credits Finkelstein's scholarship (he IS a scholar)
- who is in the Saudi Lobby (Mark)? Is it possible to name one person in it? (it's a pretty simple question; does it have an answer?)
My sense is that the comments made above about Finkelstein's lack of scholarly vrtue are not based on familiarity with his work, only on familiarity with the views of his opponents. It is not surprising that the same people do not understand that academic freedom is at stake here
— Sharif Jun 27, 05:13 AM #
There is no place for
dissidents in our brave new USA. The cops hassle, even beat demonstrators all the time. People are in jail for trespassing on Federal property, or for refusing to fight in this colonial war. Universities collaborate in the design of nuclear and biological weaponry or in development of the data systems which will soon control our lives, every day in every way. Why should not a few privileged academicians shoulder some of the pain? Fascism is indivisible. It does not respect either territorial or class boundaries.
— Chris Herz Jun 27, 12:07 PM #
Anti-Semitic and academic witch-hunt in DePaul University
DePaul University has unleashed an anti-Semitic witch-hunt against Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish intellectual who is a son of Holocaust survivors from Buchenwald and Auschwitz concentration camps.
The witch-hunt includes the following (culled from various sources):
—Finkelstein has been continually harassed at DePaul. Humiliating conditions have been imposed on him by the DePaul administration for the last six years. These include a salary cut he had to endure AFTER getting a promotion, an unprecedented move at DePaul University.
—The administration has overturned lower committee recommendations. In the final tally 17 people were for Finkelstein and 7 were against. Of the seven against, three from his own department have no expertise on the history of the Middle East. Despite this clear majority, the university has turned down his tenure giving a lame excuse of collegiality.
Talk about democracy and the majority rule!
—The idea of "collegiality" introduced in a tenure case is ridiculous; looking at some Harvard professor whose name I will not utter lest I get polluted, we realize that the likes of Harvard do not base their tenure decision on "collegiality." It is just a ploy by this alleged man of god called Father Holtschneider to deny tenure to Finkelstein.
—Not being satisfied with denying tenure to Finkelstein, "Reverend" Holtschneider wants to purge DePaul of all beings who have supported Finkelstein, hence the unprecedented and outrageous decision to deny tenure to Mehrene Larudee. This particular decision is not only prejudiced, it seems RACIST considering Larudee's ancestry. I have just learned that the brave and idealistic students (unlike the corrupt and brainwashed university professors at elite universities) who are protesting have been threatened with expulsion.
These remind us of the purges (some of which were anti-Semitic in nature) by Stalin in the erstwhile Soviet Union with support from the establishment intellectuals who gave cover by Stalin.
— Finkelstein was a victim of a vendetta by a certain Harvard professor, a person who is no expert in the history of the Middle East. Moreover he has lifted for his dubious writings from the now totally discredited "From Time Immemorial" by a certain Joan Peters. A book that would give a moral basis for the expulsion of all Palestinians. A racist hate screed that should have been laughed off was published and anointed here. It was dissected and dismissed in Israel and Europe. So much for scholarship over here.
— To exploit Jewish suffering is an ignoble thing to do, whether it is done by Jewish or non-Jewish entities. We learn from the great Raul Hilberg that there was a clear case of egregious misappropriation of funds by using the holocaust victims as a shield.
Exposing these monied interests by Finkelstein was the final nail in his tenure coffin. It is said that the actual victims got very little of this money. First they had to endure the Nazi torture and later be exploited by their so-called benefactors. How sad and outrageous. This whole tenure episode is an UTTER DISGRACE!!
— Upanishad Jun 27, 12:33 PM #
Your should have named that Harvard professor – Alan Dershowitz.
Dershowitz was once known as the defender of the underdog and the oppressed. Somehow after 9-11 he became a defender of Israel and an advocate of torture.
After publication of Dershowits book: "The case for Israel". Finkelstein called the book a collection of fraud, falsification, plagiarism and nonsense.
Apparently Dershowitz decided that a proper intellectual response was to interfere with the tenure process at a university where he has no connection or interest.
Fortunately, the tenure decision process does not include waterboarding. (At least it didn't the last time I looked.)
— gmp Jun 27, 05:29 PM #
Thanks for your suggestion about naming that Harvard Professor. I still would not want to pollute my mind by naming him.
Besides this there is always a threat of being water boarded, or worse have my nails removed when alive. Such methods have been endorsed by this Harvard professor.
The fact that Finkelstein exposed him has hurt his reputation badly, hence his utter desperation; now he is busy spreading stories about Finkelstein calling this person by that name and that person by this name. When a man has lost it, he will start flailing like a fool. I wonder why Harvard has not taken action against him for his plagiarism and for promoting torture on fellow human beings!
— Upanishad Jun 27, 07:47 PM #
Harry why do you say these students are brainwashed? Because you don't like Norman Finkelstein. Face it you would be calling him anti-Semitic if he were not Jewish, but instead you will settle for the ludicrous "self hating Jew" as a descriptor.
— yeranalyst Jun 27, 11:57 PM #
Gee, I wonder did Dershowitz negotiate an accord between the right wing Zionists and the Nazi Papacy over that Christ on a cross thing. It's amazing what money, political underhandedness and a complete lack of scruples can accomplish in our new world neo nazi empire.
— yeranalyst Jun 28, 12:11 AM #
Note to yeranalyst #21Finkelstein actually defines the syndrome of a self-hating and efffectively antisemitic Jew.
And pretentiously throwing in the fact of his parents as Holocaust survivors, worsens rather than diminishes the now international perception.
It seems topsy turvy, but this kind of Freudian inversion is a classic psychosis.Children who know no better, have been influenced by his charismatic, rebellious mien.
He deserves dismissal (let alone tenure) as as a pathetic manipulative and racist headcase and poor role model.
Have you seen his collection of despicable "Latuff" cartoons promoted and archived at his website? Or his cynical introduction lines to items on his website?
Do you support this trash?
Would you have an amoral freakish charlatan who peddles such violent sickness on his own personal webiste to teach your children right from wrong?If he's your idea of a hero, then fill your boots.
— harry Jun 28, 12:43 PM #
Friends,See my column "An Interfaith View" in the July issue of InFocus News, California's largest Muslim newspaper, out in a few days. The column is about Philo-Semitism among Christians. DePaul University's terrible blow to academic freedom may offer a classic example of Philo-Semitism in action, as well as a new kind of McCarthyism.
America is very, very lucky to have such righteous Jews as Norman Finkelstein and Jewish Voice for Peace. We're also lucky to have public servants like President Carter.They speak truth to power and suffer the public calumny so that we can discuss things that were once not a part of public discourse. My prayers and my thoughts go out to both of them. Lawrence Swaim
— Lawrence Swaim Jun 28, 08:03 PM #