DePaul University President Holtschneider Responds to Illinois A.A.U.P. Conference Re: Finkelstein and Larudee Academic Freedom Tenure Cases

The Illinois Conference of the American Association of University Professors submitted this letter to the DePaul University president on June 23, 2007. The letter strongly criticised the decision of DePaul to deny tenure to Professors Norman G. Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee. The letter expressed significant concerns about violations of academic freedom, the emphasis on collegiality in the case of Dr. Norman Finkelstein and the unwarranted intrusion of external parties attempting to influence DePaul’s promotion and tenure-review process. Full disclosure requires I indicate I serve on the Illinois A.A.U.P. council as an at-large member and will become Vice President in September. This is the website of the A.A.U.P. Illinois Conference. I received a FAX of the letter and copied it word-for-word onto this webpage.

July 12, 2007

Dr. Leo Welch
AAUP Illinois Conference
2500 Carlyle Avenue
Belleville, Illinois 62261

Dear Dr. Welch:

I am writing to respond to your letter dated June 22, 2007 regarding DePaul University’s decision to deny tenure to Drs. Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee.

I respectfully disagree with the assertions in your letter. I personally reviewed both Dr. Finkelstein’s and Dr. Larudee’s tenure files at the conclusion of the faculty review process. I am confident that the only criteria considered by DePaul in deciding these cases were the applicants’ scholarship, service, and teaching. The record reflects that DePaul honored all the standards and processes set forth in DePaul’s Faculty Handbook, as well as the standards established by the AAUP. There is no evidence in the record that either applicant’s academic freedom was compromised by the tenure review process, or that outside influences played any role in the outcome of these cases.

Because our decisions on tenure are personnel matters, I cannot discuss these decisions with you in any more detail. You obviously have reviewed my letter to Dr. Finkelstein, which he posted on his website. I will let that letter speak for itself. But as you can see, my letter and the decision of the University Board on Promotion and Tenure neither mention collegiality nor rely on it as a basis for denying tenure.

I respect the seriousness of your letter and appreciate the hard work that you and the AAUP do on behalf of your faculty colleagues. However, we will have to agree to disagree on this matter. I will not reverse the faculty recommendation, through the University Board on Promotion and Tenure, to deny tenure to Drs. Finkelstein and Larudee.


(Rev.) Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.

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