Cornel West, a civil rights activist, resigns from Harvard.
Cornel West, a renowned civil rights activist, announced his resignation from the Divinity School at Harvard University in a scathing resignation letter, accusing the institution of "spiritual rot" and describing it as in a state of "decay and decline."
In a letter shared on Twitter late Monday, the professor of African American studies explained that he took an untenured position four years ago in the hope of “still ending my career with some semblance of intellectual intensity and personal respect.”
"How erroneous I was! With a few glorious and glaring exceptions, the Jim Crow shadow was cast in a new gleaming form expressed in the language of superficial diversity,” West 68.
West — who previously held a tenured position at Harvard before resigning in 2002 — stated that it had become disheartening to witness the institution's "decline and decay."
“The disarray of a disjointed curriculum, the disenchantment of gifted yet deferential faculty, and the disorientation of priceless students loom large,” he wrote.
Additionally, the eminent black philosopher stated that he has received the "minimum increase possible" to his salary each year since returning to campus.
When he applied for tenure, the university denied him due to his support for Palestine, he explained.
“... To see a faculty enthusiastically support a candidate for tenure and then timidly defer to a rejection based on the Harvard administration's anti-Palestinian stance was revolting,” he said. “We are all aware that the fabricated justifications offered had nothing to do with academic standards.”
He then lamented a lack of personal engagement and empathy on the part of colleagues outside of work and academia, citing how he received only two responses to a newsletter announcing his mother's death.
“This level of narcissistic academic professionalism, cowardly deference to the Harvard administration's anti-Palestinian prejudices, and indifference to the death of my Mother constitute an intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep deaths,” West stated.
West stated that he was resigning with "priceless memories but no regrets."
“I attempt to tell the unvarnished truth about our market-driven universities' decadence! Let us bear witness to this spiritual corruption! West stated as much on Twitter.
Harvard University declined to comment on Tuesday regarding the resignation letter.