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Harvard declines to consider Cornel West for tenure

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19 February 2021, 07:19 PM
Daniel
Harvard declines to consider Cornel West for tenure
https://dailynous.com/2021/02/...-cornel-west-tenure/
21 February 2021, 05:21 AM
jon-nyc
I read this and thought
Didn’t he head off to Princeton after a tiff with Sumners 100 years ago?

But apparently he returned.


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If you think looting is bad wait until I tell you about civil forfeiture.

21 February 2021, 05:24 AM
jon-nyc
He’s 67 and was given a 10 year contract.

Sounds like tenure to me.


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If you think looting is bad wait until I tell you about civil forfeiture.

21 February 2021, 10:49 AM
Axtremus
quote:
Originally posted by jon-nyc:

Sounds like tenure to me.
He says it’s about “respect.” Who knows how an old famous academic defines “respect” for himself?


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www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings -- new album (Jan.2021)

21 February 2021, 12:55 PM
Piano*Dad
Indeed. It's also in part about advancing his own agenda and maintaining relevance by remaining in the public eye. A ruckus over this accomplishes many good things.

In addition, he may not want to do serious scholarship any more, or teach very much, and devote himself instead to less academic activities like politics and activism. Those may be good things, but not necessarily what Harvard wants to spend a tenured line on securing.

In the end, it's a bit of a power struggle between him and Harvard's administration, and he may think the odds are in his favor. He may be right.
21 February 2021, 01:02 PM
jon-nyc
quote:
In addition, he may not want to do serious scholarship any more, or teach very much, and devote himself instead to less academic activities like politics and activism.



That was the reason Summers fired the shot across his bow to begin with. Inconceivable it would happen now.


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If you think looting is bad wait until I tell you about civil forfeiture.

21 February 2021, 01:16 PM
Piano*Dad
Yet they offered him a 10 year contract and a raise to continue doing that ... Smiler
21 February 2021, 05:14 PM
Cindysphinx
Or, maybe there's some discrimination going on.
21 February 2021, 06:59 PM
Nina
In academia, respect = tenure.
22 February 2021, 09:22 AM
Mary Anna
quote:
Originally posted by Nina:
In academia, respect = tenure.


Yep.

If this were an institution without an endowment worth many billions of dollars, I might be able to see the argument of "We need this line for somebody who's going to produce." Even that would be a stretch, I'd think, because there's a lot of cachet in employing a household name...unless that household name's activities somehow repel donors or prospective students. And that takes us to Cindy's question of whether racism is involved.

One of my alma maters, Ole Miss, is undergoing huge turmoil because the administration has been kowtowing to inarguably racist donors trying, and sometimes succeeding, to dictate policy. Mississippi has some investigative reporters who are doing a fabulous job and getting noticed by national media for it, and they have turned up hair-raising emails of donors using horrific racial slurs along with their demands. Because Ole Miss administrative folks are predictable, they are now trying to punish the ombudsman and professors who helped bring this to light, and they will probably succeed.

That's a long way of saying that it would be terribly naive to think that Harvard did not also have donors like that, and Cornel West's public profile would put him directly in their sights. There are many tenured professors who draw a salary for decades after they publish anything scholarly. Singling out Cornel West doesn't pass the sniff test.


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Mary Anna Evans
http://www.maryannaevans.com
MaryAnna@ermosworld.com

22 February 2021, 09:34 AM
Piano*Dad
I'm not so ready to play the card. This is an individual case, not a regression coefficient. I am as prepared to believe that enough of West's colleagues don't want him around (but would never say so publicly) as I am to believe that the president of Harvard is intervening because of donor pressure. I haven't seen any good evidence, let alone evidence of racist intent.
22 February 2021, 10:08 AM
Mary Anna
You are correct that there is no proof, but there's a lot of tenured deadwood out there and I'm sure their colleagues would like to see them gone. Yet the vast majority of them suffer no consequence other than a bit of sniping at faculty meetings. The targeting of a famous scholar of racial issues seems notable enough to merit a closer look.

Perhaps Massachusetts has aggressive investigative journalists like the heroes at the Mississippi Free Press....


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Mary Anna Evans
http://www.maryannaevans.com
MaryAnna@ermosworld.com

22 February 2021, 02:20 PM
wtg
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I really don't know anything about West (and even less about tenure at a university). Thought I'd see if I could find some background on him.

I ran across this 2015 piece by Michael Eric Dyson in New Republic.

https://newrepublic.com/articl...-black-scholar-ghost

I continue my search and my education.....


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



22 February 2021, 03:06 PM
Nina
quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
I'm not so ready to play the card. This is an individual case, not a regression coefficient. I am as prepared to believe that enough of West's colleagues don't want him around (but would never say so publicly) as I am to believe that the president of Harvard is intervening because of donor pressure. I haven't seen any good evidence, let alone evidence of racist intent.


But this explanation isn't so hot. "Not fitting in" has been the excuse for not hiring/promoting diverse candidates for, well, forever. One thing we've all learned over the past year is the deeply entrenched systemic racism that exists in many of our institutions. Denying someone tenure because they don't want him around is treading into those murky waters. The proof you want may not be available, and the folks who are saying no may not even feel they are making their decisions on the basis of race, but they may well be.

It's a complicated question, for sure.
22 February 2021, 03:16 PM
piqué
quote:
Perhaps Massachusetts has aggressive investigative journalists like the heroes at the Mississippi Free Press....


sure they do. the boston globe has first class investigative reporters.


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fear is the thief of dreams