Norman Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors who became an ardent critics of Israel, has been denied tenure at DePaul University in Chicago according to the blog of Prof. Peter N. Kirstein.
Here's a brief excerpt from Kirstein's blog, which was posted this afternoon:
I have learned that Norman G. Finkelstein on June 8, 2007 has been denied tenure at DePaul University. Professor Finkelstein, assistant professor of political science, had been recommended for tenure by his department and by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences personnel commitee. According to A.A.U.P. guidelines, Dr Finkelstein will be given a year's notice and so can return under contract to DePaul for the 2007-2008 academic year. A professor may appeal a tenure denial and seek A.A.U.P. support. My hope is such will be the case and that there will be a Committee A investigation which could lead to a censure of DePaul University. This is speculation and is not a prediction of future course of events.
We'll be hearing a great deal about this in coming days.
Update: Peter Kirstein has updated his post:
I have learned that DePaul University President Reverend Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., notified the American Association of University Professors that he had denied tenure to Professor Finkelstein. He called them at approximately 12:30 P.M. Eastern Standard Time as a "courtesy." Perhaps to ward off a possible A.A.U.P. investigation, I understand that the president stated that he did not reverse any decision of DePaul University's Tenure and Promotion Committee for any faculty member. Therefore I am assuming, with great confidence but consternation, this university-wide panel did not recommend the granting of tenure to Professor Finkelstein.
Kirstein has additional observations at his blog.
Update II: Peter Kirstein has posted a second update at his blog:
DePaul University President Reverend Dennis H. Holtschneider, in an unprecedented action, simultaneously notified A.A.U.P. on the same day Dr Norman G. Finkelstein was denied tenure and promotion to associate professor. He spoke by telephone to American Association of University Professors General Secretary Roger Bowen. The president told Dr Bowen he had expected a "reaction" and was calling as a "courtesy." Apparently there was a discussion on the degree of familiarity that the president had with Professor Finkelstein's published writings. The president indicated he had read "some" of his work. The DePaul president in response to an inquiry, stated he did not know if Dean Chuck Suchar, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who recommended against the granting of tenure, had read Dr Finkelstein's work but "expected" that he had.
I have previously reported when I first learned of this tenure process that Dean Suchar's opposition to the granting of tenure was based on tonality and an alleged lack of collegiality in both Dr Finkelstein's writings and for apparently a rumoured contemplation of litigation against the university. I also noted that the dean provided a single example of alleged scholarly incivility that appeared to use the same misspelled word as previously used by Harvard Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan Dershowitz.
Currently the American Association of University Professors is having their annual meeting in Washington, D.C. This situation is assuredly to garner great interest at this meeting and possibly will occupy future deliberations.
Update III: The blog of the Chornicle of Higher Education has now confirmed that Finkelstein was indeed denied tenure today:
Norman G. Finkelstein, the controversial political scientist who has been engaged in a highly public battle for tenure at DePaul University, learned today that he had lost that fight. In a written statement released to The Chronicle, the university confirmed that Mr. Finkelstein had been denied tenure.
Mr. Finkelstein's department and a college-level personnel committee both voted in favor of tenure, but the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences wrote a memorandum against it, and the University Board on Promotion and Tenure voted against granting tenure. The final decision rested with the university's president, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, who said in the statement that he had found "no compelling reasons to overturn" the tenure board's recommendation.
"I played by the rules, and it plainly wasn't enough to overcome the political opposition to my speaking out on the Israel-Palestine conflict," Mr. Finkelstein said in an interview. "This decision is not going to deter me from making statements that, so far as I can tell from the judgment of experts in the field, are sound and factually based."
Mr. Finkelstein's case has excited widespread interest, in part because of the involvement of Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard University. The two scholars have sparred repeatedly in public. Last fall, Mr. Dershowitz sent members of DePaul's law and political-science faculties what he described as "a dossier of Norman Finkelstein's most egregious academic sins, and especially his outright lies, misquotations, and distortions."
Informed of the news this evening, Mr. Dershowitz said, "It was the right decision, proving that DePaul University is indeed a first-rate university, not as Finkelstein characterized it, ‘a third-rate university.' Based on objective standards of scholarship, this should not have even been a close case."
In the DePaul statement, Father Holtschneider decried the outside interest the case had generated. "This attention was unwelcome and inappropriate and had no impact on either the process or the outcome of this case." —Jennifer Howard