Cornel West quits Harvard over tenure dispute, Palestine
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.
This is my candid letter of resignation to my Harvard Dean. I try to tell the unvarnished truth about the decadence in our market-driven universities! Let us bear witness against this spiritual rot! pic.twitter.com/hCLAuNSWDu— Cornel West (@CornelWest) July 13, 2021
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.