The Finkelstein Tenure Decision . . .

This from Matthew Abraham:

Finkelstein received a 9-3 vote supporting his tenure and promotion from the tenured members of his department last November. The College Personnel Committee that reviewed his case voted 5-0 supporting his tenure and promotion. The Dean, one Charles Suchar, withheld his support of Finkelstein’s tenure application, claiming that Finkelstein’s scholarship was at odds with DePaul’s institutional mission, which apparently requires all members of the DePaul community to respect the God-given dignity of the individual, even those with whom we fiercely disagree. The Dean claimed that Finkelstein did not show adequate respect, in his scholarship, for his political opponents. According to the AAUP, “limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment” (AAUP Redbook, p. 96). DePaul does not stipulate limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other  aims of the institution at the time of appointment. In fact, not once during the probationary period was Finkelstein informed that his scholarship was, or might be, at odds with DePaul’s institutional mission. Despite having the highest teaching evaluations in DePaul’s political science department for six-years straight, publishing five internationally recognized books–his most recent with the Univ. of California Press–which have undergone forty-six foreign language translations (more than the entire College of Liberal Arts and Sciences combined), and receiving the enthusiastic support of two internationally recognized experts on the Israel-Israel Palestine conflict–one a distinguished professor at the Univ. of Chicago and the other at the Univ. of Pennsylvania—the Dean withheld his support, claming that Finkelstein does not exhibit proper “Vincentian personalism” in his scholarship, a tenure criterion which has never been used at DePaul before.

A minority report, which was written by the three members of the political science department who voted against Finkelstein–none of who is an expert on the Middle East or the Nazi Holocaust–was embraced by the Dean and the University Board in rationalizing the decision to deny tenure. Who’s ever heard of soliciting the views of internationallyrecognized experts on a tenure case, ignoring those views, and then embracing a minority report written by non-experts? That’s how desperate the administration became in trying to find a way to justify Finkelstein’s tenure denial. I encourage people to listen to the Democracy Now interview with the late Raul Hilberg and Avi Shlaim from last April. I passed along the link earlier. I’ve been studying this case for a long time; every day, it seems, more and more scandalous revelations come to the surface.

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