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Cornel West is leaving Harvard. Read his resignation letter

Cornel West says Harvard has lost its way

Political activist Cornel West speaks at a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Political activist Cornel West speaks at a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in Detroit, Friday, March 6, 2020.
Paul Sancya, Associated Press

Cornel West — one of the country’s biggest Black scholars and a progressive activist — said Wednesday that he will be leaving Harvard University, saying the school has been participating in “intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths.”

West said the “disarray of a scattered curriculum, the disenchantment of talented yet deferential faculty, and the disorientation of precious students loom large” has led to his resignation.

You can read his full letter below or on Twitter.

West said politics may have led to his resignation as well. He said politics may have influenced Harvard’s decision to not extend tenure.

  • “We all knew the mendacious reasons given had nothing to do with academic standards. ... I knew my academic achievements and student teaching meant far less than their political prejudices,” West said in his letter.

Per NPR, the argument is similar to how Black scholar Nikole Hannah-Jones was denied tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hannah-Jones declined UNC’s later attempt to offer tenure, opting to join the faculty at Howard University, according to the Deseret News.