Will Norman G. Finkelstein Have Office Space at DePaul University?

I had been sent by a student and confirmed by a posting on Dr Finkelstein’s website that Dean Chuck Suchar is apparently denying a full-time professor office space. Chuck Suchar, in his infamous memorandum that recommended against the granting of tenure, emphasised Vincentian values such as politeness, civility and respect for the human person had been violated in the “writings” of Dr Finkelstein. I wonder if this e-mail belies these qualities in the DePaul dean? What is shocking is the utter lack of attention to the needs of students.

Professor Finkelstein must receive a year’s notice prior to termination of his employment. This was explicitly referred to in DePaul President (Rev.) Dennis H. Holtschneider’s, C.M. June 8, 2007 letter of tenure denial and is explicitly required in A.A.U.P. documents and policies.

“As a result of this decision, this letter shall also serve as formal notice that the 2007-2008 academic year shall be the terminal year of your employment at DePaul University as a full time faculty member, with an effective termination date of June 30, 2008. A revised contract will be issued and mailed to your home address within the week.”

If a professor is not given suitable office space, how can he or she meet with students? How can a professor use his or her time on campus with maximum efficiency to interact with colleagues, do research, engage in course preparation and simply be a part of the professorate? I believe Chuck Suchar has more than demonstrated his utter incapacity to function judiciously as an administrator. The DePaul dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences appears to lack independence of judgment, toleration of dissenting, humanistic colleagues and an understanding of the basic needs of students. Emotion, antipathy, rage and anger should not govern a college dean’s approach to decision making. I find this e-mail contemptible, and revelatory of bias and prejudice. While the Suchar e-mail does leave open the possibility that a full-time faculty member in the Political Science Department at DePaul would have an office, it strikes me as mean-spirited to evict a professor- -without a prior diminution of his duties or responsibilities- -from his office. I could understand relocation of a professor’s office if one’s status changed from full-time to part-time or tenured to adjunct, but assuming this de facto denial of office space is not due to physical plant adjustment, it is utterly at variance with the sense of justice and respect that a faith-based Roman Catholic University should represent. A professor who has been denied tenure should be treated with the utmost respect and consideration and not with an over abundance of schadenfreude. Deans should consult with faculty as a matter of courtesy before eviction and not conduct themselves as martinets.

This is the laconic e-mail from Dean Suchar to Dr Finkelstein. I do not know the date of the e-mail:

Prof. Finkelstein – Professor Budde [Michael L. Budde, Chair of the Department of Political Science] has informed me that you have asked for office space for your books. We do not have office space assigned to you for the coming academic year. I will look into whether we can make space available for you and either I or Professor Budde will get in touch with you next week with more information.

In the meantime, you will not have access to your old office space. To the extent that you left personal belongings in your old office space, we can discuss a plan for their return to you when I get in touch with you next week. You should not plan on moving into any office space tomorrow, as that option is not available to you.

I will contact you next week with more information.

Dr. Charles (Chuck) Suchar
Professor and Dean
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
DePaul University
Vincent dePaul Professor
Office of the Dean
990 W. Fullerton Ave. Office#4207
Chicago, IL. 60614-3298
Phones: (773) 325-7305
(773) 325-1858
fax: (773) 325-7304
e-mail: csuchar@depaul.edu

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