I have previously reported on DePaul University students who have engaged in courageous and idealistic support for Norman Finkelstein. He, along with Dr Mehrene Larudee, were denied tenure on June 8, 2007 for reasons that appear to be retribution for either political expression on the conflict in the Middle East or supporting that right and that have contravened the considered judgments of their departments, college-wide personnel committees and in one instance the dean’s support within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I can report from personal experience that students, regardless of ideology, are quite resistant when professors, whom they have adjudged to be very effective, are simply removed from the classroom for reasons that appear to be injudicious and politically inspired.
Hero Students at Academic Freedom Rally two months ago, April 13, 2007.
Continuing an uphill battle with the DePaul University administration, student and community groups will gather at 55 E. Jackson (Jackson and Wabash) today 13 June 2007 at 11 a.m. for a rally, in a plan to escalate pressure on the nation’s largest Catholic university. The protest is in support of academic freedom, as well as tenure for Professors Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee. Students have been sitting in the executive offices of DePaul President Fr. Dennis Holtschneider since Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Upset over DePaul’s denial of tenure to Professors Finkelstein and Larudee, and after a meeting between 30 student leaders and Fr. Holtschneider, students have taken action to defend academic freedom, under attack by the university administration. While the students presented Fr. Holtschneider with a petition of over 700 signatures calling for the reversal of the decision and questioned the legitimacy of the university’s process, the DePaul President flatly rejected their demands and insisted that he would not reevaluate his position. Up until this point, the university has accommodated the sit-in, though informed the students that they must abandon by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. The students are determined to hold their ground.
The faculty and students will be meeting tomorrow to discuss the appeals process and future steps. The organizations that have called for this protest include DePaul student organizations Students for Justice in Palestine, DePaul Students Against the War, Society for International Affairs, Model United Nations, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, as well as outside groups Palestine Solidarity Committee, Council on American Islamic Relations, and International Socialist Organization.
Photos Courtesy from progressive DePaul student website.
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