Friday, June 15, 2007
Postscript on Finkelstein
Some readers have pointed out in response to my post criticizing the De Paul president's letter that the school can do what it wants with respect to its tenure decisions. Actually, that is only partially true. Candidates denied tenure quite often sue universities if they feel that the decision is grossly unfair, violates procedures, etc. There have been cases when university presidents have been forced out in the aftermath of failed tenure proceedings. But let's not get carried away. It is more likely for a university administration to undergo censure from the American Association of University Presses. For a list of administration censured by the AAUP, see http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/protectrights/academicfreedom/censuredadmins.htm Finally, I can't see how any defender of Dershowitz can be happy with the tenure denial, since Finkelstein's research wasn't seriously criticized, at least according to the president's letter. A university decides that it doesn't want to have a troublemaker like Finkelstein and it gets rid of him. Maybe it has a right to do so; maybe it doesn't. But wouldn't Dershowitz's supporters have been happier had Finkelstein been denied tenure on the weakness of his scholarship than on his personality?