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Finkelstein's Legacy at DePaul: Climbing Jacob's Ladder, One Rung at a Time

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Article/book #: 70186
Title: Finkelstein's Legacy at DePaul: Climbing Jacob's Ladder, One Rung at a Time
By: Matthew Abraham  
Published in: CounterPunch
Date of issue: Saturday, 8 September 2007
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:


When Norman Finkelstein announced last Wednesday that he and DePaul University had reached a negotiated settlement, ending his nearly year-long battle to gain tenure in the face of the highly unusual set of circumstances created by the extramural campaign of hate and intimidation launched by Alan Dershowitz, the Israel Lobby, and its numerous affiliates, one could have almost have felt as if the whole controversy had come to an anti-climactic end. It was a sad moment for many who had defended Finkelstein throughout the year, in the hope the administration could be brought to its senses about the deadly blow that had been delivered against academic freedom and this world-class intellectual, who brought a determination to his work few will be able to match.

In exchange for his immediate resignation from DePaul's faculty, DePaul would essentially admit that Finkelstein had met the University's tenure and promotion requirements ("Professor Finkelstein is a prolific scholar and an outstanding teacher"), while also providing Finkelstein with an undisclosed amount of money, along with a backhanded acknowledgment of the public outrage that had been generated in response to the tenure denial ("We understand that Professor Finkelstein and his supporters disagree with the University Board on Promotion and Tenure's conclusion that he did not meet the requirements for tenure.") Well, the obvious reason Finkelstein and many of his supporters disagreed with the University Board on Promotion and Tenure's conclusions is because Finkelstein consistently earned among the highest, if not the highest, teaching evaluations in the political science department for six years in a row. Coupled that with the five books which he has published to international acclaim, the most recent being his Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History with the University of California Press, which Dershowitz's campaign of abuse and vilification could not censor, one might naturally understand why Finkelstein and his supporters have drawn the logical inference that something else-other than the usual DePaul standards-might have been in play.

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