Ideological Prejudice at Brooklyn College
If Brooklyn College provost, Roberta Matthews (Letters
to the Editor, Jan. 9), truly has great confidence that the processes
that denied Prof. "KC" Johnson promotion and tenure worked as they were
supposed to, then the college is even more politicized than Dorothy
Rabinowitz reported in "The
Battle of Brooklyn," editorial page, Dec. 20. Based upon my personal
experience as a former member of the Brooklyn College History Department
and a faculty union grievance counselor, I am not aware of another tenure
denial case at Brooklyn College, or any unit of CUNY for that matter, so
tainted with procedural irregularities or so corrupted by personal and
ideological prejudice as is the case against Prof. Johnson.
One of Provost Matthews's administrative duties is to oversee the
college's promotion and tenure review process to insure it is devoid of
bias. It is blatantly obvious, however, that the denial of Prof. Johnson's
application was doomed from the outset by History Department chair Phil
Gallagher, who was determined to purge him.
Accordingly, I'm left to wonder at Provost Matthews's failure to take note
of the chairman's animus and to make sure that Prof. Johnson's right to a
fair and unbiased process was preserved. One reason appears to be that
Provost Matthews was also upset with Prof. Johnson and called him into her
office to express her displeasure after he criticized a post 9/11 teach-in
because all of the speakers, one a History Department camp-follower of
Edward Said, were known opponents of American and Israeli policies.
A talented historian and remarkable teacher is being told that Brooklyn
College has no room for him because academic freedom is a scarce commodity
there, limited to those with tenure or those who subscribe to the proper
ideology du jour.
Jerome L. Sternstein
Professor Emeritus, History
Brooklyn College, CUNY
Updated January 28, 2003--letters to the editor
section, Wall Street Journal