New Jersey (QNN)- US activist, philosopher, and academic Cornel West has announced his resignation from Harvard University’s Divinity School, citing the institution’s “deference to anti-Palestinian prejudices” as one of his reasons for doing so.
West is expected to return to Union Theological Seminary, where he first taught 44 years ago.
West shared a copy of his letter on Twitter on Monday explaining the reasons for his resignation. He said that he faced discrimination during his time at the university, including being given a lower salary than when he was first given a tenured position at Harvard, and also being rejected for tenure.
He tweeted that the university’s “market-driven” nature had led to “spiritual rot”.
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
In the letter, West said that “to witness a faculty enthusiastically support a candidate for tenure then timidly defer to a rejection based on the Harvard administration’s hostility to the Palestinian cause was disgusting”.
“This kind of narcissistic academic professionalism, cowardly deference to the anti-Palestinian prejudices of the Harvard administration, and indifference to my mother’s death constitute an intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths.”
The 67-year-old philosopher, political activist, and social critic has been involved in a drawn-out public dispute with Harvard Divinity School over his tenure since early this year.
In February, the 68-year-old scholar said that he was certain his criticism of Israel was one of the principal reasons for him being denied tenure at Harvard. He said on the TightRope podcast that speaking about Israel’s occupation of Palestine “is a taboo issue among certain circles in high places”.
West has been a regular fixture in the call for Harvard to disinvest from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation.
According to the Harvard Crimson newspaper, the university has invested close to $200m in companies “tied to the Israeli occupation of Palestine”.