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February 08, 2011

A Brooklyn College Professor Weighs in on the Petersen-Overton Controversy

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Brooklyn College

Brooklyn College Professor of Philosophy Emerita Abigail Rosenthal has written a letter to the National Association of Scholars arguing that due process rather than academic freedom is the main issue in the controversial case of Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a 26-year-old pro-Palestinian activist and 2nd year grad student who was hired to teach a course about the Middle East and Arab-Israeli conflict. The Professor writes:

Due process was not followed in the hire. (A second-year student in the PhD program is under-credentialed to teach a graduate course, & his course syllabus, which included a history component, wasn't cleared with the History Dept.) Due process was also not followed in his firing. I think due process, rather than academic freedom, was the main issue here.

She notes that "it's probable that the Political Science Dept.'s rush to hire Petersen-Overton was connected to his views" and comments on the one-sided sanctioning of opinion and the hostile atmosphere for Jewish students on campus .

It seems to me that by now the campus has generated a hostile atmosphere for Jewish students & has conveyed the message (via the orientation text, via political theatre on campus, via this now-underscored hire, via the expanded "Israel Apartheid Week"), to students & faculty, that only one political view has official sanction, from the effective faculty & administration.

Read Professor Rosenthal's letter here.

Posted by RH at February 8, 2011 10:57 AM

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