Upset over DePaul University‘s denial of tenure to Professors Norman Finkelstein, and Mehrene Larudee, and after a meeting between 30 student leaders and DePaul President Fr. Dennis Holtschneider at his office, students have taken action to defend academic freedom which is under attack at the nation’s largest Catholic institution.
After an unsuccessful meeting where their demands were ignored by the administration, DePaul students are continuing their sit-in overnight and through this week at the President’s office and plan to escalate action among the student body.
Student leaders called for Fr. Holtschneider to grant the professors tenure. They presented him with a petition of over 700 signatures calling for a reversal of the decision, and engaged in a heated discussion on the legitimacy of the university’s decision. The decision made at the secretive University-level overturned the tenure decisions made at the Departmental and College-levels, which approved Finkelstein’s position by votes of 9-3 and 5-0, respectively. Students were surprised by Larudee’s rejection as she was unanimously approved by both the Departmental and University level tenure committees.
The student leaders cite Finkelstein and Larudee’s positive peer-reviewed scholarship and flaws in the tenure process as reasons why they should receive tenure. Denial of tenure to the professors means their employment at DePaul will be terminated.
Finkelstein, son of holocaust survivors and outspoken critic of oppressive Israeli policy in Palestine, has come under attack from detractors like Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who seeks to silence critics of Israel and has successfully interfered in internal DePaul tenure processes. Despite being in the midst of their hectic finals-week and upcoming graduation, student leaders are currently sacrificing their time by occupying the Executive Offices of DePaul University indefinitely until their demands for the tenure of Professors Finkelstein and Larudee are met.
More information can be found at www.finkelgate.com.
Victor Lang is a DePaul University student.