From an unconventional professor to a progressive activist, Cornel West had adopted a plethora of different roles with ease and perfection. Mostly known for his teaching capabilities, West had been working at his alma mater, Harvard University, for a while.
In a recent letter published to his Twitter account on Monday, West has not only resigned from his post but also accused the institution of a “spiritual riot.” His comment also included words of resignation for the Harvard Divinity School, which is in “decline and decay.”
Cornel West’s sudden resignation comes after Harvard refused to provide him a chance to receive tenure- the unspecified academic appointment that makes it tough to remove professors. While West’s accusations hold significant weightage, the university has refused to comment on the matter itself.
The resignation comes amid increasingly complex matters at stake. Earlier this year, several concerns were surrounding the demeanor of academic institutions towards black scholars. One such case involved the University of North Carolina, where Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones was offered a position devoid of tenure.
Resultantly, the university faced extensive backlash and reversed its decision. However, they weren’t quick to act as Hannah-Jones had left for Howard University. Cornel West’s resignation letter also contained a myriad of political and personal slurs that led him to step back from his position.
According to West, he returned to Harvard after working at Princeton in the hopes to conclude his career with “some semblance of intellectual intensity and personal respect.” However, he mocks himself for thinking that way.
One of the most blatant accusations made by West included the university denying tenure because he supported the Palestinian cause. He also mentioned that the news of his mother’s death elicited only two replies, whereas a normal announcement received nearly 20.
While Coronel West spoke about the “precious memories’ ‘ at the renowned institution, he affirmed that resignation was required on his part. West, 68, obtained a degree from Harvard and went on to get a PhD. degree in philosophy from Princeton University.