The excerpt below is a component of the weekly Higher Ed Issues Landscape Report, which analyzes the top conversation trends in higher education for the past week and highlights qualitative and quantitative insights on the topics and universities that drove coverage.
In recent weeks, Nikole Hannah-Jones’s tenure dispute with the University of North Carolina drove headlines and put faculty employment in the spotlight. Now, progressive activist and philosopher Cornel West has from his position at Harvard following an apparent clash regarding tenure. While Dr. West’s recent resignation was worthy of headlines in its own right, it is likely the timeliness of the story resulted in additional scrutiny. For example, of 197 online news mentions around Dr. West’s resignation, Nikole Hannah-Jones or UNC were mentioned in 95 of them.
Arguments For or Against West’s Tenure:
- It has taken prestigious universities “generations” to arrive at a more diverse faculty, and Harvard should do whatever it takes to maintain high-quality, diverse candidates – Harvard Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay
- Denying Dr. West tenure shows that Harvard is “performative” in its effort to promote racial justice – VP of Harvard’s Black Men’s Forum Meshaal Bannerman
- Dr. West had a history of spending “too much time on outside activities” and not enough time on serious scholarship and teaching – Former-Harvard president Lawrence Summers
- Dr. West’s position wasn’t technically tenure-tracked, and he was never evaluated for tenure
Top Coverage Around Cornel West Tenure Dispute and Resignation:
- NPR – Cornel West Releases Resignation Letter from Harvard (24.6K Engagements)
- The Grio – Cornel West resigns from position at Harvard University in open letter (20.5K Engagements)
- CNN – Cornel West resigns from Harvard after tenure dispute and slams university’s ‘spiritual rot’ (13.8K Engagements)
- Washington Post – Cornel West says Harvard is in ‘decay’ in resignation letter over tenure dispute (7.5K Engagements)
- Breitbart – Cornel West Resigns from Harvard Citing ‘New Glittering Form of ‘Jim Crow’ Via ‘Superficial Diversity’ (6.2K Engagements)