Esteemed African-American professors blasts Harvard University over "superficial diversity" in a resignation letter.
Cornel West, one of the US' foremost Black scholars, has accused Harvard University of "intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths" in his bombshell resignation letter.
The 68-year-old scholar cited the university "deference to anti-Palestinian prejudices" as one of the reasons for his resignation.
West, who submitted his resignation on June 30 but only published it earlier this week, said he faced discrimination during his four-year stint at the university, including a lower salary and less time off.
In his statement, he said that the university is increasingly "market-driven", which had resulted in "spiritual rot".
West went on to say that "to witness a faculty enthusiastically support a candidate for tenure then timidly defer to a rejection based on the Harvard administration's hostility to the Palestinian cause was disgusting".
"This kind of narcissistic academic professionalism, cowardly deference to the anti-Palestinian prejudices of the Harvard administration, and indifference to my mother's death constitute an intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths."
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
Earlier this year, West, who was formerly the Harvard Divinity School professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, said that his critical views on Israel were behind him being denied tenure at the university.
"The problem is that [talking about the Israeli occupation of Palestine] is a taboo issue among certain circles in high places. It is hard to have a robust, respectful conversation about the Israeli occupation because you are immediately viewed as an anti-Jewish hater or [having] anti-Jewish prejudices.
"We've got a whole wave of Jewish comrades, Jewish brothers and sisters, who are critical of the Israeli-occupation, but not in high places," West added in a podcast.
In his resignation letter, West, who is widely considered one of America's most important intellectual and moral voices, also said that Harvard University had become decadent and in the grip of "superficial diversity."
In March 2020, the student newspaper at the university known as The Harvard Crimson reported that the school has investments worth more than $200 million in companies tied to illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.