Professor Cornel West dramatically resigns from Harvard after being denied tenure and says the ‘shadow of Jim Crow’ in the form of ‘superficial diversity’ persists at the Ivy League school
- Cornel West publicly shared his scathing resignation letter on Monday night
- Claimed he was denied tenure due to ‘anti-Palestinian prejudice’ at Harvard
- Accused the university of ‘spiritual rot’ and said it pursued ‘superficial diversity’
- West is a well-known public intellectual focused on civil rights and racial issues
- He also quit Harvard in 2002 over dispute with former university president
The famous public intellectual Cornel West has dramatically quit his job at Harvard University following a tenure dispute, accusing the esteemed school of ‘spiritual rot’ and ‘superficial diversity.’
In a resignation letter he shared publicly on Monday night, 68-year-old West slammed Harvard’s administration and revealed a litany of personal and professional complaints.
‘How sad it is to see our beloved Harvard Divinity School in such decline and decay,’ he wrote in the letter. ‘The disarray of a scattered curriculum, the disenchantment of talented yet deferential faculty, and the disorientation of precious students loom large.’
Harvard University did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com on Tuesday afternoon.
The famous public intellectual Cornel West has dramatically quit his job at Harvard University following a tenure dispute, accusing the esteemed school of ‘spiritual rot’
In a resignation letter he shared publicly on Monday night, 68-year-old West slammed Harvard’s administration and revealed a litany of personal and professional complaints
West returned to Harvard in 2016 with a joint appointment to the Harvard Divinity School and the Graduate school faculty of African and African-American Studies, after dramatically quitting the university once before in 2002.
In the letter, he said he had accepted the untenured position in the hope that he could ‘still end his career with some semblance of intellectual intensity and personal respect.’
‘How wrong I was! With a few glorious and glaring exceptions, the shadow of Jim Crow was cast in its new glittering form expressed in the language of superficial diversity,’ he wrote.
‘All my courses were subsumed under Afro-American Religious Studies,’ he noted, claiming that this resulted in ‘no possible summer salary alongside the lowest increase possible every year.’
West accused the university of denying him a tenured position because of ‘the Harvard administration’s hostility to the Palestinian cause,’ which he supports.
West accused the university of denying him a tenured position because of ‘the Harvard administration’s hostility to the Palestinian cause,’ which he supports
‘We all know the mendacious reasons given had nothing to do with academic standards,’ he wrote.
West also complained that when the department newsletter announced his mother’s death, he received only two public replies of condolence.
‘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,’ he wrote.
‘In my case, a serious commitment to Veritas requires resignation — with precious memories but absolutely no regrets!’ the letter concluded.
Veritas, the Latin word for ‘truth’, is Harvard’s official motto.
West is a celebrity in intellectual circles as well as popular culture, and made appearances in Hollywood films such as The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
He also made a guest appearance portraying himself in a 2012 episode of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock.
West also complained that when the department newsletter announced his mother’s death, he received only two public replies of condolence
He is a radical Democrat and socialist who is often outspoken on left-wing political issues.
In 2002, he got into a a widely publicized dispute with Harvard’s then-President Larry Summers, who reportedly rebuked West for missing too many classes, contributing to grade inflation, and neglecting serious scholarship in favor of economically profitable projects.
West quit in a fury and lashed out at Summers in public interviews, joining the Princeton faculty before switching to Union Theological Seminary and ultimately rejoining Harvard.
West said on Monday he was resigning with ‘precious memories but absolutely no regrets.’
West has written 20 books, including ‘Race Matters’ and ‘Democracy Matters’ and reportedly garners speaking fees of $50,000 to $100,000.