Finkelstein's tenure bid has attracted an unusual degree of outside attention and his research has been much debated by scholars of the Middle East. In evaluating his record, DePaul faculty panels and administrators praised him as a teacher and acknowledged that he has become a prominent public intellectual, with works published by major presses. But first a dean and now the president of DePaul -- in rejecting tenure for Finkelstein -- have cited the style of his work and intellectual combat. Finkelstein was criticized for violating the Vincentian norms of the Roman Catholic university with writing and statements that were deemed hurtful, that contained ad hominem attacks and that did not show respect for others.
...Adding to the tensions over the Finkelstein case is another element to it. His tenure bid was backed by his department and a collegewide faculty committee, and hit roadblocks when a dean weighed in against him. And the same day DePaul's president denied Finkelstein tenure, he also denied tenure to another professor — who had backing from her department, the collegewide faculty panel, and the dean who weighed in against Finkelstein.
While most tenure processes are layered, several people at DePaul said it was unusual for tenure candidates there to advance several steps in the review process -- only to be rejected -- and that the cases raise questions about how much deference should go to a department.
"The real responsibility for assessing someone's scholarship and teaching and service rests with the department. Your closest colleagues are expected to understand what you do more precisely than an upper level body," said Anne Clark Bartlett a professor of English and president of the Faculty Council at DePaul. In the aftermath of Friday's announcements, she said that "people are very concerned."
For those unfamiliar with Harvard Law professor, Alan Dershowitz, he's the war hearted scholar who told us last summer that the IDF was right to kill "complicit" Lebanese civilians in the south.