Finkelstein put on leave, vows to fight

Norman Finkelstein, professor and subject of an extremely controversial tenure decision at DePaul University, has been put on 'administrative leave' (subscription required) for the final year of his contract. Finkelstein will continue to receive salary and benefits, but has been relieved of his teaching responsibilities. Both Finkelstein's courses- "Freedom and Empowerment" and "Equality and Social Justice"- have been cancelled. Finkelstein had this to say:

"[I intend] to show up on the first day of the academic year to teach my classes (students are currently searching for an alternative venue) and to use my regular office in the political-science department. If the university attempts to impede my movements, I intend to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience and go to jail. If incarcerated, I intend to go on a protracted hunger strike until DePaul comes to its senses. It is regrettable that I have been driven to such drastic actions to defend basic principles of academic freedom and my contractual rights, upon which DePaul has been riding roughshod for so long."

Hunger strike? Man, this guys doesn't mess around. I've blogged extensively on DePaul's decision to deny Finkelstein tenure. Although the university denies the charge, many believe (myself included) that the decision was political.

Apparently, DePaul faculty feel the same way. According the the Chronicle of Higher Education, they are now investigating the University Board on Tenure and Promotion for "perceived procudural problems" in the Finkelstein tenure decision. Many of Finkelstein's students are also rallying around the embattled prof, founding the DePaul Academic Freedom Committee to fight against the university's decision.

It seems we haven't heard the last of Norman Finkelstein.