No Tenure for DePaul's Finkelstein; Harvard Law Prof's Tempest a Factor?

Pleas by one of Harvard Law School’s most prominent professors, among others, to refuse tenure to an assistant political science professor at DePaul University, had no effect, according to DePaul’s president. But Norman Finkelstein, perhaps best known for his controversial views on Jews, the Holocaust and Palestine, was reportedly denied tenure just the same in a recent 4-3 faculty vote.

A national debate raged in recent months over Finkelstein–himself the child of Holocaust survivors–and his controversial views on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and one of the often-heard voices was that of Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz. He and Finkelstein have written dueling books on the subject, and Dershowitz implored DePaul not to grant tenure to a man whose writing, he contends, distorts the facts.

“Over the past several months, there has been considerable outside interest and public debate concerning this decision,” the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, DePaul’s president, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday. “This attention was unwelcome and inappropriate and had no impact on either the process or the outcome of this case.”

But, at the same time, Holtschneider also criticized Finkelstein in a June 8 letter for his role in the controversy, an AP article says. “In the opinion of those opposing tenure, your unprofessional personal attacks divert the conversation away from consideration of ideas, and polarize and simplify conversations that deserve layered and subtle consideration,” Holtschneider wrote.

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