Students Rally for Academic Freedom Downtown
By Alicia Dorr in News on Jun 13, 2007 6:01PM
In case you didn't hear about Finkelgate, or just didn't know it was a big deal, you might be interested to know that a rally is taking place on Jackson and Wabash as we write.
Chanting slogans like "Academic Freedom, not for sale!", students, faculty and others are taking on DePaul for the institution's recent decision to deny tenure to controversial professor Norman Finkelstein and another professor, Mehrene Larudee, whose main fault seems to have been supporting Finkelstein's right to speak his mind.
A small but convincingly-loud and incredibly determined crowd, along with a student sit-in in front of the president's office upstairs, are aiming to raise awareness to the fact that, while they may not agree with everything that every professor says in the end, there are still plenty of students who believe they have a right to hear opinions and judge for themselves.
The son of Holocaust survivors, Finkelstein has sparked continued debate for expressing his opinions on what he has called "The Exploitation of Jewish Suffering" and his criticism of Israel. His departmental committee and a personnel committee both voted to grant the professor tenure, but it was denied by the tenure committee Friday.
Since also denying Larudee tenure despite unanimous support from her department, a backlash against the school from some faculty has resulted in talk of a vote of no confidence in its president and some other officials. Two different faculty committees are meeting to discuss the possibility this week.
We never went to Depaul, but we do think that it's pretty hard to argue against academic freedom and, after looking at all sides, we honestly agree with the students and others chanting their hearts out. Anyone willing to protest for a right to hear all opinions, whether they agree or not, is proving the point well.
Image via Normanfinkelstein.com.