FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Boycotting DePaul

by KATHRYN WEBBER

Officials at DePaul University caved to pressure from pro-Israel ideologues, denying tenure for Norman Finkelstein, an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights–and then announced that they were withholding tenure for another professor who actively supported Finkelstein’s cause.

But students at DePaul are taking action in opposition to the university’s rulings, which amount to a pink slip for Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee, two of the more progressive professors on the Chicago campus.

Finkelstein’s bid for tenure was opposed by his long-time adversary, Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, who spent the last several years harassing DePaul faculty and staff with e-mails and documents that slandered Finkelstein.

Nevertheless, Finkelstein’s application for tenure was strongly supported by the political science department and personnel committee of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. But DePaul’s dean opposed tenure, as, apparently, did the University Board on Tenure and Promotion (UBTP).

Students and faculty came to Finkelstein’s defense, organizing a petition of support and holding pickets and meetings to draw attention to the case, as the issue went to DePaul’s president, Father Dennis Holtschneider, for a final decision.

The university’s rejection of Finkelstein was announced June 8, at the start of finals week.

If Finkelstein’s tenure bid was always controversial because of the intervention of Dershowitz and other pro-Israel ideologues, the rejection of Larudee was a shock. Her application had been unanimously approved at every previous level of the tenure process, and she was preparing to take over as chair of the university’s International Studies program.

Larudee’s supporters among faculty say the only reason they can think of for the decision is that she spoke out in defense of Finkelstein–and her brother is also involved in working for justice for Palestine.

* * *

WHEN HOLTSCHNEIDER’S decision was announced June 8, at the start of finals week, angry student supporters of the two popular professors met to plan for actions.

On the following Monday, June 11, 12 students entered Holtschneider’s offices at 8:30 a.m., where they were greeted by Campus Safety, making clear that news of a planned sit-in had reached the president.

The students met with Holtschneider at 3 p.m. By this time, there were at least 20 students and three alumni present. The students listed their demands, including a public apology to the two professors and a reversal of Holtschneider’s tenure decisions. Holtschneider said he would not change his mind.

The students were thrown out of Holtschneider’s office under threat of expulsion, and a faculty member and two alumni attorneys were threatened with arrest if they remained. Students then moved the sit-in to the Student Center on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus, where they remained until they were threatened with arrest. Two students then camped outside the campus rectory.

At graduation ceremonies on June 17, students in the audience dropped two banners reading “Tenure for Finkelstein and Larudee” when the university provost began to speak. Nearly 25 graduates refused to shake Holtschneider’s hand, instead handing him a letter to inform him they would not be supporting the university financially or otherwise because of the tenure decisions.

There is an ongoing dispute between the administration and faculty at DePaul over the question of an appeals process for tenure decisions. The administration maintains that there is no appeals process, and the faculty insists there is.

The Faculty Council of the university and the Faculty Governance Council of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences each voted to authorize an appeals process, and the Faculty Governance Council voted unanimously to investigate the UBTP. Censure of the administration is also being discussed.

Students will begin a fast, starting June 25, to ensure that the administration knows their commitment is unwavering, and it will not be able to sweep this scandal under the rug during summer break.

A boycott of DePaul has been called, meaning that students are encouraged not to attend, and academics are asked not to speak on campus or apply for jobs there. The American Association of University Professors is considering censuring DePaul.

KATHRYN WEBBER writes for the Socialist Worker.

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
Norman Pollack
Taiwan: A Pustule on International Politics
Kevin Martin
Nuclear Weapons Modernization: a New Nuclear Arms Race? Who Voted for it? Who Will Benefit from It?
David Mattson
3% is not Enough: Towards Restoring Grizzly Bears
Howard Lisnoff
The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State
Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Decision
Nick Pemberton
Make America Late Again
Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail