Norman Finkelstein, Israel critic and embattled DePaul University professor agrees to resign.


“During my six year stint at DePaul I consistently received among the highest student evaluations in my department. I have published five books to critical acclaim from leading scholars, and they have been translated into 46 foreign editions. I have been recognized as a public intellectual in the United States and Europe and have become an internationally recognized scholar in my academic specialties. Based on that record, I should have received tenure. Indeed, after extensive scrutiny of my academic credentials, my department voted overwhelmingly to tenure me as did the college-level tenure committee, which voted unanimously in my favor. The only interference that I can draw is that I was denied tenure due to external pressures climaxing in a national hysteria that tainted the tenure process. The outpouring of support for me after the tenure denial from among the most respected scholars in the world buttresses this conclusion.” Read Finkelstein’s complete statement and DePaul’s statement on denying him tenure and how they uphold academic freedom.In addition, Prof. Mehrene Larudee, a universally respected professor of international studies, who openly advocated for Finkelstein, was denied tenure at the same time as Prof. Finkelstein, to the shock of her colleagues.

Support is urgently needed to prevent suppression of these teachers. How to help.

Read Standing Firm with Norman Finkelstein and DePaul’s Heroic Students, by Matthew Abraham, another DePaul faculty member, describing how Finkelstein was denied tenure, and how students are standing up for him.

Also read What Norman Finkelstein’s Denial of Tenure Tells Us About the State of Academia  by Robert Jensen.

Embattled DePaul Prof Agrees to Resign

Associated Press, Sept 5, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) — A DePaul University professor who has drawn criticism for accusing some Jews of improperly using the legacy of the Holocaust agreed Wednesday to resign immediately “for everybody’s sake.”

University officials and political science professor Norman Finkelstein issued a joint statement announcing the resignation, which came as about a hundred protesters gathered outside the dean’s office to support him.

Finkelstein was denied tenure in June after spending six years on DePaul’s faculty, and his remaining class was cut by DePaul last month.

His most recent book, “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History,” is largely an attack on Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz’s “The Case for Israel.” In his book, Finkelstein argues that Israel uses the outcry over perceived anti-Semitism as a weapon to stifle criticism.

Dershowitz, who threatened to sue Finkelstein’s publisher for libel, urged DePaul officials to reject Finkelstein’s tenure bid.

Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, said in the statement that he believes the tenure decision was “tainted” by external pressures, but praised the university’s “honorable role of providing a scholarly haven for me the past six years.”

The school denied that outside parties influenced the decision to deny Finkelstein tenure. The school’s portion of the statement called Finkelstein “a prolific scholar and an outstanding teacher.”

Finkelstein called that acknowledgment the most important part of the statement.

“I felt finally I had gotten what was my due and that maybe it was time, for everybody’s sake, that I move on,” he said at a news conference that followed a morning rally staged by students and faculty who carried signs and chanted “stop the witch hunt.”

Finkelstein said, “DePaul students rose to dazzling spiritual heights in my defense that should be the envy of and an example for every university in the United States.”

The professor would not discuss financial terms of the resignation agreement, which he said was confidential, but noted that it does not bar him from speaking out about issues that concern him, including “the unfairness of the tenure process.”

He also said he doesn’t know what he’ll do next, but came to realize before Wednesday “that the atmosphere had become so poisoned that it was virtually impossible for me to carry on at DePaul.”

Dozens of supporters wearing T-shirts that read: “We Are All Professor Finkelstein” wondered about the long-term effects on the school.

“I think there’s just going to be a long standing sentiment of an injustice here,” said Thomas Bellino, a 22-year-old student who has taken classes from Finkelstein. “I used to consider the president of DePaul, Father (Dennis) Holtschneider, sort of like a friend, someone who was aligned with my beliefs on academic freedom. But now I don’t think that anymore and I think much less of the administration.”

Ronald Edwards, an untenured biology professor, said he was concerned, too.

“I think my colleagues and I need to ask if we get tenure at DePaul, is that something to be proud of? Maybe the answer is yes, but we need information before we can answer that question to be yes.” And, he said, “Parents of students should ask themselves, ‘Do I send my kid to a school where professorships are dubious, in terms of hiring and firing?'”

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