Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Man fired by Brooklyn College for thoughtcrime

with 4 comments

The country continues its descent. Justin Elliott in Salon:

An adjunct political science professor was fired Wednesday by Brooklyn College following complaints by a student and a local politician about his pro-Palestinian political views.

The college maintains the instructor, graduate student Kristofer Petersen-Overton, was let go because he did not have proper credentials to teach a master’s level course on Middle East politics. But there’s evidence that other graduate students with the same level of experience as Petersen-Overton have had no trouble teaching advanced courses in the department both in the past and the present.

And now a group of Brooklyn College professors are blasting the administration for undermining academic freedom.

Here is what happened:

Petersen-Overton, a political science student at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York, was looking for a course to teach in the spring, and he heard about an opening at Brooklyn College, which is part of the CUNY [City University of New York] system. Petersen-Overton had a B.A. in political science from San Diego State and a masters in development from a university in Denmark. He has published several articles about Israel and the Palestinians in academic journals and books. He also previously worked at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a Gaza NGO, in 2007-08. He started his studies at CUNY in 2009.

He got the part-time adjunct professor’s job at Brooklyn College to teach Middle East politics, a master’s level course that is regularly offered in the political science department. That was in late December. The acting chair of the department, who had hired him, asked Petersen-Overton to send him a syllabus to circulate to prospective students.

That’s when the trouble began.

One student, whose identity is not known, did not like the books in the syllabus. The student complained to the department and also contacted a blogger and Brooklyn College alum, Bruce Kesler. He attacked Petersen-Overton in a Jan. 19. post titled "Gaza Defender Hired To Teach Middle East At Brooklyn College." Kesler criticized Petersen-Overton for being "preoccupied with the Palestinian narrative," for describing Zionism as a "philosophy of separation," and for having published articles on the website Electronic Intifada.

Around that same time, a student (likely the same student) contacted the provost and complained about Petersen-Overton. . .

Continue reading. I hope the guy gets his job back. Or is it the job of the college to ensure that only one point of view is represented?

Written by Leisureguy

28 January 2011 at 2:29 pm

4 Responses

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  1. No, it’s the job of the institution to make sure he’s properly qualified and credentialed and that he teaches well and performs his other contractual duties. His particular views on this or that simply do not matter. Or should not.

    Of course a part-time adjunct instructor pretty much exists at the whim of the institution. Very tentative. They can fail to renew his contract at any time and that’s that. Kind of how it is.



    28 January 2011 at 2:56 pm

  2. Ethan

    29 January 2011 at 11:38 am

  3. How many teachers does Brooklyn College have that push the opposite point of view? All, or none? Or were they afraid he was a secret Jihadist terrorist?

    –Leslie < Fish


    Leslie Fish

    1 February 2011 at 2:47 pm

  4. I think it was just anti-Palestinian bigotry. He now has his job back, once someone sensible looked into it. Here’s the story.



    1 February 2011 at 2:54 pm

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