Cornel West resigns from Harvard, says institution is in "decline and decay"
Cornel West, a prominent Black philosopher and activist, announced Monday that he has resigned from his position at Harvard University’s Divinity School, citing a tenure dispute and saying the institution is in "decline and decay."
Why it matters: The 68-year-old's resignation comes amid a broader discussion about the treatment of Black scholars at universities, after Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones rejected a position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, following her own tenure controversy.
The big picture: West's departure comes after Harvard initially denied a request to give him tenure earlier this year. West later told the Harvard Crimson it reversed its decision after facing public criticism.
What they're saying: “How sad it is to see our beloved Harvard Divinity School in such decline and decay,” West wrote in his letter of resignation.
- “The disarray of a scattered curriculum, the disenchantment of talented yet deferential faculty, and the disorientation of precious students loom large," he continued.
- "When my committee recommended a tenure review — also rejected by the Harvard administration — I knew my academic achievements and student teaching meant far less than their political prejudices."
- West also implied that the university initially denied him a tenured position because of his support for Palestine.
Harvard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.