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.
This is my candid letter of resignation to my Harvard Dean. I try to tell the unvarnished truth about the decadence in our market-driven universities! Let us bear witness against this spiritual rot! pic.twitter.com/hCLAuNSWDu— Cornel West (@CornelWest) July 13, 2021
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.