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Finkelstein case: Academic freedom loses to Israeli lobby

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Article/book #: 65841
Title: Finkelstein case: Academic freedom loses to Israeli lobby
By: Matthew Abraham  
Published in: Electronic Intifada
Date of issue: Monday, 25 June 2007
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:

Commentary (by Miriam Reik -- 25 June 2005):

I note that Abraham is an untenured teacher at DePaul, which means that he is putting his money where his mouth is with this piece. Would that all faculty were as courageous.

»DePaul University's Promotion and Tenure Board's 8 June 2007 decision to deny tenure to professors Norman G. Finkelstein and Mehrene Laurdee has placed DePaul University on the brink of a legitimacy crisis that threatens to irrevocably harm the very fabric of a university that has placed social justice and activism at the heart of its Vincentian mission since 1898. What does it mean that this Vincentian University has denied tenure to two passionate advocates of social justice who not only met the tenure requirements of their departments and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences but clearly surpassed them? What would St. Vincent de Paul have made of this year's tenure and promotion decisions? Would he have agreed with them? From what I know of St. Vincent de Paul's life and work, I'm almost certain he would be distressed by what has transpired under the name of "Vincentian tenure standards," which are transparent code words for "proving one's ideological serviceability to the interests of the powerful," in this case DePaul's would-be patrons. Finkelstein and Larudee apparently failed that test.«

»Professional decorum dictates that administrative decisions, whatever they may be and regardless of whether or not they make sense, should be accepted with grace and without undue skepticism, and certainly without resistance, by the faculty. This situation, however, demands fierce resistance. I am calling on all of my DePaul colleagues to launch an intellectual revolt against the suppression of academic freedom on our campus. Although President Holtschneider maintains that academic freedom is alive and well at DePaul, and Provost Epps insists that the denial of tenure to Larudee and Finelstein were "faculty decisions," it is high time to call out these PR strategies for what they are: convenient smokescreens designed to appease, obfuscate and confuse.«

»One thing is clear: US supporters of Israel, who have not hesitated in the past to use psych-op smear tactics against individuals committed to upholding international law and the international consensus on the Israel-Palestine conflict, may very well have successfully corrupted DePaul University's tenure and promotion processes through DePaul's Board of Trustees in a blatant attempt to remove political opponents from the largest Catholic university in the United States.«

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