12 October 2007 – In Defense of Academic Freedom
In Defense of Academic Freedom
12 October 2007 – 2:00pm – 7:00 pm
Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago
Dr. Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy and Director of The Heyman Center, Columbia University
Dr. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Tony Judt, University Professor and Director of the Remarque Institute, New York University
Dr. John Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
Tariq Ali, Editor of the New Left Review and Verso Books
This is the copy of the student letter to Reverend Dennis Holtschneider who denied tenure to Professors Norman G. Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee:
14 August 2007
Fr. Dennis Holtschneider
Office of the President
55 E. Jackson, 22nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Dear Fr. Holtschneider,
As you are aware, numerous DePaul students consider your recent decision to deny tenure to Dr. Norman Finkelstein in the Political Science Department to be unacceptable. It is disheartening to find that we have further reason for concern. As students of DePaul University,
we are deeply distraught to discover that DePaul may not allow Dr. Finkelstein on campus to teach us in his terminal year as stipulated in his employment contract. As university administrators, you have denied him tenure; though as educators, we implore you not to restrict our learning. We attend DePaul to learn. We want to learn from Dr. Finkelstein.
Currently, Campus Connect lists Dr. Finkelstein’s classes as enrolled at capacity, despite one being offered at 8:30 AM on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and another being offered on the same days at 9:40 AM. As you know, classes held during these time frames are not the easiest to fill, and their status reflects directly on Dr. Finkelstein as a professor. Students returning in the 2007/2008 Autumn Quarter expect to be taught by the brightest and most truthful of DePaul’s professors. We also expect to have a voice in determining and defining the criteria by which our professors are evaluated: we have done so, and Dr. Finkelstein fulfills those criteria.
Dr. Finkelstein has expressed interest in teaching this coming quarter and has already submitted his course texts to the bookstore and his syllabi to the Department. The minimum we expect is that you allow Dr. Finkelstein to return for his contractually granted terminal year.
Please be clear that DePaul is inherently an educational institution and that students form the core of this university. Consider this as a formal notice from the students that denying Dr. Finkelstein his terminal year will be considered complete abandonment of the students and your responsibilities.
DePaul Academic Freedom Committee