Cornel West quits Harvard over tenure dispute, Palestine

Cornel West quits Harvard over tenure dispute, slams university's 'disgusting' stance on Palestine
2 min read
13 July, 2021
American political activist and public intellectual Cornel West has resigned from Harvard University over a tenure dispute, and what he says is his over views on Palestine.
Cornel West accused Harvard of denying him tenure because of his views on Palestine [Getty Images]

American political activist and public intellectual Cornel West published his written resignation from Harvard University on Tuesday over a tenure dispute and what he said was the institution's rejection of his political views on Palestine.

In his resignation letter which he published on Twitter, dated 30 June, West criticised Harvard's alleged hostility to the Palestinian cause, calling it "disgusting."

"This kind of narcissistic academic professionalism, cowardly deference to the anti-Palestinian prejudices of the Harvard administration… constitute an intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep deaths," he said.

He slammed the university for denying him the possibility of receiving tenure, which allows for an academic to remain in their post indefinitely.

"When my committee recommended a tenure review – also rejected by the Harvard administration – I knew my academic achievements and student teaching meant far less than their political prejudices," he wrote, in reference to his stance on Palestine.

He had previously accused Harvard of denying him tenure back in March due to his pro-Palestine activism. He has endorsed the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

West is a Harvard graduate, and earned a PhD in philosophy from Princeton University. He has taught at Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Union Theological Seminary.