Fr. Dennis Holtschneider
Office of the President
55 E. Jackson, 22nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Dear Fr. Holtschneider,
This letter is to inform you of the actions students are currently taking in response to the violation of academic freedom and the tenure process at DePaul University. Recently, the decision was made to deny tenure to professors Dr. Norman Finkelstein and Dr. Mehrene Larudee despite being approved at both the departmental and college-levels. We believe that their denials were politically motivated and that you should reverse them. As President of DePaul University we feel that it is your responsibility to uphold justice in academia and the honor attached to our degree, both of which have eroded in the past month.
After our last meeting in your Executive Offices, when you retracted your offer to provide us a location for our sit-in after only three days, we realize that you do not understand how seriously we see this matter. We have begun a liquid fast to express how seriously we regard the infringement of academic freedom at DePaul, as well as to demonstrate our level of determination, control, and self-restraint. We will be meditating and reflecting upon recent events and on our own understanding of what has taken place. Over the past few weeks, we have been inspired by the overwhelming support of our fellow students and alumni; our motivation for this action has not and will not diminish one thousandth of one inch.
Our program will continue to escalate as weeks and months pass, and will only build greater support once the Fall quarter begins. While this fast is only the first, we assure you that our fasts for this purpose will become regular and that they will only increase in length and numbers with each occasion. We invite you to join us in our fast for academic freedom. After careful thought and meditation perhaps you will realize the damage DePaul has performed upon its students as well as the university’s credibility.
Your intention not to alter your decision regarding the two tenure cases has been clear, but we hope that our fast demonstrates our steadfast commitment and determination. We continue to demand the following:
- Issue a public apology to Dr. Finkelstein and Dr. Larudee,
- Recognize the appeals process espoused in resolutions passed by the Faculty Council and the Faculty Governance Council,
- Discard the Dept. of Political Science minority report from Dr. Finkelstein’s tenure file,
- Include the Dept. of Political Science faculty response (dated 12 April 2007) to Dean Charles Suchar’s report on Dr. Finkelstein,
- Investigate the University Board for Tenure and Promotion (UBTP) decisions on tenure and promotion made in this past year, and
- To reverse the decision of the UBTP regarding Dr. Larudee and Dr. Finkelstein’s tenure, and to grant them their deserved tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.
Academic Freedom Committee — DePaul Students