Dr Cornel West has accused the Harvard University of disrespectful treatment and hinted at discrimination.
Harvard professor Dr Cornel West, who has quit his job at the University, has called out the “decline and decay” and the “spiritual rot” on campus.
In a “candid letter of resignation”, dated June 30, the public intellectual and professor of African-American studies said he was resigning with “precious memories but absolutely no regrets” after four years of service at the Massachusetts-based Harvard Divinity School. In March, he had announced he will be leaving Harvard because it did not give him tenure, bringing negative media attention to the Ivy League Institution.
As the controversy continued, not much was revealed then about what exactly forced the popular professor’s resignation.
With Dr West, 67, now sharing his resignation letter on Twitter, more details have been revealed, raising doubts over Harvard’s conduct.
He wrote, “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!”
Dr West has accused the University of disrespectful treatment and hinted at discrimination, alleging all his courses were subsumed under Afro-American Religious Studies and his salary was given the “lowest increase possible” every year.
“And 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”, he wrote in the letter.
He said when his committee recommended a tenure review it was rejected by Harvard and he went on to accuse the administration of showing indifference to the death of his mother, alleging “this kind of narcissistic academic professionalism” constitutes an intellectual bankruptcy of deep deaths.
Dr West’s post has received huge support from his followers and other Twitter users, some of whom have praised his “courage, wisdom, and integrity”.
Another person regretted that the situation turned so bad that he had to quit.
A third user thanked the professor for the “eye-opening, candid and eloquent” letter, and added that Dr West “gave far more grace to the institution than it deserved”.
Dr West has served as a tenured professor at Yale, Princeton, and Harvard in the past. However, he had to leave Harvard once before as well. In 2002, he had a public fight with the university’s then-president, Lawrence Summers. He rejoined Harvard in 2017 in a non-tenured position.