New York - Professor Fired Over Views on Israel Gets Job Back; Hikind Outraged
New York - Kristofer Petersen-Overton, the adjunct professor who lost his job teaching a Middle East politics course at Brooklyn College after a student and Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind criticized his views on Israel, has now been rehired by the college.
Assemblyman Hikind has tonight issued the following statement:
‚ÄúIt is pathetic that the administrations of Brooklyn College and CUNY has caved to intimidation tactics and reversed their earlier, praiseworthy decision to oust Mr. Petersen-Overton from his post.
Mr. Petersen-Overton has stated in published reports that he ‚Äúunderstands‚ÄĚ suicide bombing.
In re-hiring Mr. Petersen-Overton, Brooklyn College and CUNY have sent a message to suicide bombers and their supporters that a publicly-funded institution of higher learning condones suicide bombing as an acceptable method of ‚Äėresistance.’ Granting Mr. Petersen-Overton access to thousands of impressionable young minds, especially at the taxpayers‚Äô expense, is nothing short of shameful and embarrassing.
By CUNY‚Äôs own determination, Mr. Petersen-Overton was relieved of his teaching job and deemed unqualified because he did not hold a doctoral degree. His re-appointment and the University‚Äôs flip-flopping on this issue is cowardice at its very worst.‚ÄĚ
Below is statement from Brooklyn College:
At 7:15pm on Monday, January 31, President Karen L. Gould released the following statement to the students, faculty, and staff of Brooklyn College:
Over the past several days, as a result of a provostial decision about an adjunct appointment, Brooklyn College has been thrust into a debate about academic freedom. This debate has been fueled at times by inflammatory rhetoric and mischaracterization of the facts. It is unfortunate that matters of utmost importance to our college community can be so rapidly co-opted by those with a political agenda and distorted by the media.
I stand united with you: We must never allow decisions about our students‚Äô education be swayed by outside influence. In the matter at hand, this certainly has not been the case. On behalf of every member of this institution, I reaffirm our steadfast commitment to the principles of academic freedom, faculty governance, and standards of excellence.
Today, the Department of Political Science and its appointments committee voted unanimously to recommend Kristofer Petersen-Overton to teach a graduate course on the Middle East. Based on information that has come to light, they are confident he has sufficient depth of knowledge and the intellectual capacity to successfully lead a graduate seminar. The provost now supports their recommendation, and I am in full agreement.
Brooklyn College continues to have a strong commitment to academic freedom. As one of the most diverse campuses in the United States, we value civil discourse on even the most difficult topics. We believe that open, substantive dialogue between those with different points of view is an essential component of a 21st-century education.
Equally essential are academic standards that ensure an excellent education for all students at all levels. During this calendar year, we will work together as faculty and administrators to ensure that our graduate programs are of the highest caliber.
It is now time for us to come together as a community and welcome Mr. Petersen-Overton to Brooklyn College. We wish him and his students a productive, rewarding semester of graduate study.
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