Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tribune: Finkelstein classes cancelled

The Chicago Tribune (whom the Drunkablog beat scoop-wise by a whole day) on the cancellation of Norman Finkelstein's fall classes at DePaul:
The required reading was at the bookstore, the students had the course syllabus, and space in Political Science 235, "Equality in Social Justice," was standing-room only when DePaul University pulled the plug Friday on what was to have been Norman Finkelstein's final year at the school.
Pulled the plug. It's in the headline, too.

By Monday, the books for his course had been pulled from the DePaul bookstore's shelves, while his case was restarting a firestorm of protest. The American Association of University Professors was preparing a letter to the university, protesting Finkelstein's treatment as a serious violation of
academic ethics. . . .

And more fun's a'comin':

Finkelstein vowed not to take the rebuff lying down—or, perhaps more correctly, to do something just like that. In addition to canceling his course, the university informed him that his office was no longer his.

"I intend to go to my office on the first day of classes and, if my way is barred, to engage in civil disobedience," Finkelstein, 53, said in a telephone interview. "If arrested, I'll go on a hunger strike. If released, I'll do it all over again. I'll fast in jail for as long as it takes."

A tactic Ward Churchill wouldn't consider for one horrified second. In the interests of solidarity, though, maybe Fink could use some drummers (stolen from PB; I think EP from SP actually took the pic). The Tribune notes:
According to the norms of academia, a professor denied tenure has the right to a final year of teaching at the university that turns him down. The watchdog of those rights is the American Association of University Professors, the umbrella organization of college teachers, which can censure a school found in violation of its ground rules. Such a finding also can be the preliminary to a lawsuit against the university by the faculty member.
But remarkably, the paper has only this to say about why Finkelstein's "terminal year" classes [notice it's no longer just the fall quarter] were cancelled:
DePaul officials declined to comment on the case. Denise Mattson, associate vice president for public affairs, said: "Finkelstein has been assigned to an administrative leave with full pay and benefits for the 2007-08 academic year. Administrative leave relieves professors from their teaching responsibilities. He was informed of the reasons that precipitated this leave last spring."
Apparently Tribune reporter Ron Grossman is unaware of Normie's website, or of Dissident Voice, both of which provide the (probable) reason for the cancellation of Norm's classes: the physical(ish) confrontation between Finkelstein and DePaul Dean of Arts and Sciences Chuck Suchar after Finkie was denied tenure in June. Finkelstein says Suchar kept repeating "fuck you, fuck you" (academics: such refined folk), but what did Finkie say to Suchar? Bet it was nasty--even, perhaps, a smidge threatening.

Unlike Churchill, though, Finkelstein says he doesn't intend to sue:

Finkelstein said that, rather than filing a lawsuit, he intends to fight the university's action with a hunger strike, and the attendant publicity."

In the court of public opinion, I can win," Finkelstein said. "I say: 'Let the people judge.'"

He won't get the verdict he wants from them, either.

Update: Norm Finkelstein, Menace II Society.

Update II: Marathon Pundit:

DePaul needs to explain what the hell is going on at DePaul. If Finkelstein was given the heave-ho right after he his tenure request was denied, how did one of his classes--or more--end up in the school's course catalog.

Update III: The revered hippie-educator Peter Kirstein has stuff, including a link to the DePaul Law School blog.

No comments: