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ATS: Yale University Fires Professor For Political Views

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posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:55 AM
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Yale anthropology professor David Graeber alleges the reason for the non-renewal of his contract is his anarchist research and political activism. He admits that he cannot prove the claim, due to the confidentiality of the process by which senior faculty operate at Yale, but argues that he received good reviews from the faculty until he became more politically active.
 



www.counterpunch.org
JF: If I am not mistaken, you have been up for review at Yale before, correct? What has changed since those reviews were held?

DG: I had an official third-year review and I had no problems with that, they told me I was doing fine. Then, after that, I started writing essays defending anarchism, and getting involved in big mobilizations against the IMF and G8 as well organizing with the peace movement. When I got back from my sabbatical, everything had changed. Several of the senior profs wouldn't even say hello to me. I was assigned no committee work. When I came up for review in my sixth year for promotion to term associate - normally a rubber stamp - suddenly, several senior faculty virulently opposed my promotion on the grounds that I didn't do any committee work. Not surprising since they refused to give me any. They also produced a whole panoply of petty charges - "he comes late to class," that sort of thing - which, as usual, I was not allowed to know about much less respond to. Of course I was acting exactly as I'd acted for the first three years, too, but suddenly it was a terrible problem. The vote deadlocked so they took it to the Dean who told them they couldn't fire someone without a warning, so I was given a letter telling me I had to do something about my "unreliability" and do more service work. My contract was extended for just two years instead of the usual four, and I was told they would vote at the end of the next year to see if it would be extended (so that I would be able to come up for tenure.) So this year I've been running the colloquium series, doing all sorts of extra teaching - this term for instance, I effectively taught three courses instead of the required two because I had one weekly class with undergraduates who were all taking independent studies with me - taught one of the most popular courses in Yale (Myth and Ritual, with 137 students) ... But on Friday May 6, I was informed that they had voted not to renew my contract anyway and offered no explanation as to why.

JF: I know there is no union you can turn to at Yale for support, as faculty members are not allowed to unionize, but have you reached out to the Graduate Employee and Student Organization (GESO, Yale's graduate student union)? I know they are not recognized as a legitimate union by the university, but have they been an ally in all of this?

DG: To be honest, I actually tried to avoid getting involved in campus activism for many years. I figured we all have to make our little compromises, mine would be: I'd be an activist in New York, and a scholar in New Haven, and that meant avoiding the whole unionization question as much as I could. In the long run, of course, it was impossible. Our department is extremely divided, certain elements in the senior faculty hate GESO with an infinite passion and campaign tirelessly against it, the students are all factionalized; it's a mess. I supported the principle of unionization of course; I was also very critical of what I saw as the top-down organization of the union (after all, I'm an anarchist - my idea of a good union is the IWW); I just tried to be fair to all sides. But in the end I got drawn in. It all came to a head a few months ago, actually, when certain elements in the senior faculty tried to kick out a very brilliant graduate student who also happened to be one of the department's major organizers. As it turned out, I was the only professor on her committee willing to openly stand up for her during the meeting where they tried to terrorize her into leaving the program. She refused to back down, and with the help of some of my colleagues, we managed to get her through her defense successfully, but after that, certain elements in the senior faculty seemed determined to take revenge.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


For me, this is the real pressure point for free speech. If a university professor is not allowed to think freely and express his views openly without the fear of losing his job because of them, we are living in Orwell's 1984--complete with thought police.

Anarchism has long been the victim of the straw man fallacy; study it before you let the word scare you.

Yale should be ashamed; it has shown its face as the tool of the elite under the guise of 'education'. Doesn't that reduce it to very expensive indoctrination?

While the corporate media that we all think of as "unbiased sources" will never cover this (proving their bias), other independant media sources have addressed the story:
indymediawatch.blogspot.com...
www.etalkinghead.com...
auto..._sol.tao.ca/node/view/1368
www.infoshop.org...
en.wikipedia.org...

An online petition to oppose Yale's decision has collected over 1400 signatures in only 2 days:
www.petitiononline.com...





[edit on 19-5-2005 by PeaceBeWithYou]




posted on May, 19 2005 @ 11:09 AM
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The professor was done wrong if in fact his contract was not renewed due to his views....there could be other reasons, but probably not.

This may lead to a chain of "political discrimination" on both sides of the house when it comes to schools.. As much as I think his views are screwed up and wrong he still has the right to do as he pleases as long as it does not contradict with the schools outline for whatever class he teaches. Shame on Yale!!



posted on May, 19 2005 @ 11:10 AM
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For me, this is the real pressure point for free speech. If a university professor is not allowed to think freely and express his views openly without the fear of losing his job because of them, we are living in Orwell's 1984--complete with thought police.

I disagree. Tenure has nothing to do with 1984.

Regardless, if this was a political decision, it was a bad idea. True, anarchists organizations should be quelleched, but academic freedoms are of an overriding importance in this case.

However, even he says there's no proof or anything to substantiate the claim. Furthermore, I suspect that its one thing for a contract to not be renewed, another for a professor to be fired mid-contract.

Also, how exactly can anyone trust him, on his word? He is an anarchist, he seeks to destroy the state and the university system, we can expect him to state that he was fired for political reasons.

How hypocritical that he'd refer to the legal system and governmental protections when it suite him.


I know there is no union you can turn to at Yale for support, as faculty members are not allowed to unionize

Ah, wonder where this is going.



posted on May, 19 2005 @ 11:21 AM
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Anarchism isn't determined to destroy institutions or government, just take away their power. Its a complex philosophy that's been developed and fought by the rich for centuries. An-archism means "opposed to ruler"--they have also called themselves "social libertarians" (in fact, it was 19th century anarchists that coined the term libertarian).

Instead of writing anarchists off as evil liars that will do anything to destroy the institutions we hold so sacred, why not try to understand the economic enslavement anarchists identify in our current structure of society? As soon as its commonly agreed upon that a group is evil, explore it and make sure the claims of evil are not just propaganda from somone living on bloodmoney.

Read up on Project Paperclip and you'll find that the CIA has had been carrying out psychological warfare on the American people since WWII, then decide if you want to spread their ideas or think for yourself.



posted on May, 19 2005 @ 11:26 AM
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Anarchism isn't determined to destroy institutions or government, just take away their power. Its a complex philosophy that's been developed and fought by the rich for centuries. An-archism means "opposed to ruler"--they have also called themselves "social libertarians" (in fact, it was 19th century anarchists that coined the term libertarian).

Instead of writing anarchists off as evil liars that will do anything to destroy the institutions we hold so sacred, why not try to understand the economic enslavement anarchists identify in our current structure of society? As soon as its commonly agreed upon that a group is evil, explore it and make sure the claims of evil are not just propaganda from somone living on bloodmoney.


Pfffft, whatever you say, anarchist.. Y'all smell that? Smells like stinky unbathed bombmaking anarchist!
j/k

So, this guy didn't get his contract renewed because he didn't play by the old white guys rules. Big deal. This isn't the first person in history to be denied a contract renewal at an ivy league college because he was disliked.

Zip


Odd

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 11:46 AM
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the day they fire a college professor, especially at Yale, for being too liberal is the day that monkeys will pour in an unstaunchable tide from my arse.

i'll keep you posted on that.



posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:13 PM
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Interesting post. Unfortunately, it only presents one side of the story. (Isn't that called bias?) For obvious reasons, the University isn't going to comment on personnel issues.

Odd's point is a good one - the Yale profs. involved in the tenure decision obviously know a hellava lot more about this than the so-called victim is revealing in the self-serving interview.

Personally, I'd would want to see what kind of scholarship record this guy has - what he has published, what journal he published in, etc. On top of that, I'd want to know how many grad students he had, how long it took them to graduate, and the quality of their work. The story doesn't appear to have those facts - perhaps those factoids weren't helpful to the point the author was trying to make?

Tenure at any university, much less Yale, is not a right or an entitlement. Frankly, I think this guy's 15 minutes are just about up.



posted on May, 19 2005 @ 11:06 PM
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Sounds like a putz to me-

He wants to be something but not be open about it yet claims this is what got him?

An anarchist at Yale- drawing a big salary.

What's wrong with this?

The people that pay you set the rules, duh


For a political science prof to get caught up in politics and 'bonked' he must have been real poor at following the lessons.

This guy couldn't even-

Well, anyway- stuff happens and when you take 'the man's money' you got to sing his tune.



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 07:55 AM
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Graeber wasn't up for tenure yet. It should've been a normal promotion to associate prof. His field isn't political science either; its anthropology.

His students have created a website in his defense where Dr. Graeber actually posted his resume at :
www.geocities.com...
www.geocities.com...

Anyone that takes the time to review these two documents can see that Graeber's scholarship merited tenure before a dismissal. This body of work, for a scholar his age, is extraordinary.



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 08:00 AM
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Tenure in academic circles is political as well as a scholarly thing as many will attest. As often is the case in such matters there is simply more to the story that we are privy too.

Also, the souce in the article seems to be more oriented towards selling thier wares than being a real news type outlet.



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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Excuse me for coming across flippant as I did (I was flippant)-

However, this Prof. Was 'playing' the anarchist at an institution clearly and publicly opposed to such.

The listing (from links) of a most recent work regarding perhaps cultural anthropology could also be a problem for the Prof. at Yale. While Yale is a fine institution it has no worthy track record regarding free-thought or radicalism. Yale has always been an institution of institutionalism.

This Prof. played the anarchist yet when treated as such then wants institutionalism to intervene! This is unrealistic. No institution is going to pay someone to tear at its foundations.

A list of the Prof.'s published and in progress works clearly shows a far left predilection.

Universities have as much right as any business to keep people that support it and boot people that don't. Academic freedom is baloney anyway and always has been.



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 12:45 PM
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I'm sorry, but you guys have seriously got to stop bashing this guy for "using institutionalism" to defend himself even though he's an anarchist.
For example: I have a problem with my city's water supply, and there's not an alternative water source that's available. So I protest for change, but in order for me to be able to continue LIVING so that I can continue FIGHTING the water system...I must continue to use the water system.
There is a system in place that he must have so that he can continue to make a living, and therefore fight the system. He is forced to use the institutionalized system to help protect him so that he can continue to fight, in his mind, that which is the good fight. It's been said before, and let it be said again: QUIT bashing anarchism before you even understand what it is. And to add to that: There are varying degrees to everything...there ARE the nutjob radical folks out there that subscribe to the doctrine of anarchy. And then there are those who are more midstream and seek to simply remove some of what they perceive as absolute power from those that have it.
The knee-jerk reactions around here have got to stop, people.



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 03:06 PM
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Originally posted by Ghaleon4
I'm sorry, but you guys have seriously got to stop bashing this guy for "using institutionalism" to defend himself even though he's an anarchist.
For example: I have a problem with my city's water supply, and there's not an alternative water source that's available. So I protest for change, but in order for me to be able to continue LIVING so that I can continue FIGHTING the water system...I must continue to use the water system.

Big difference, and what you posted is incorrect anyway.

You do have alternatives, you just don't like them. You could BUY bottled water. A high order of magnitude more expensive but it is a viable alternative. You could also install a cistern or tank and haul water in.

The guy at Yale learned (the hard way) what others including government whistleblowers have known for decades. It usually is better to fight something from the outside than be exterminated as a virus.

The Prof. is an anthropologist and yet failed to learn from his own studies- ergo= F. As used herein that means fired instead of failed, but the result is the same.

He could have gone to another institution and used that income (because that is what this is all about) to support him while he lambasted Yale.

There is no 'high' motive as I see it. Yale provided him a high profile springboard for his writings. Yale gave him pedigree.

An anarchist attempting to use institutionalism to save himself from institutionalism in hypocritical.


Sure his stated goal might be laudable but he voluntarily joined the ranks of countless others strewn throughout history.

Remember the old saw about those that fail to learn from history-



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 04:33 PM
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An anarchist attempting to use institutionalism to save himself from institutionalism in hypocritical.


I honestly see no problem with that, and I think I've made a good point as to why, regardless of that fact that you intentionally missed the point of my analogy simply so you could argue. That whole bit about "You could just dig a hole!" crap was a nice touch. I could see it coming from a mile away, which is why I included the part about "No other water source being available" which...wouldn't have even been necessary if I had't predicted that someone just like you would crawl out of the woodwork and find ways to absolutely and intentionally fail to see any side of another person's viewpoint.



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by Ghaleon4
I honestly see no problem with that, and I think I've made a good point as to why, regardless of that fact that you intentionally missed the point of my analogy simply so you could argue. That whole bit about "You could just dig a hole!" crap was a nice touch. I could see it coming from a mile away, which is why I included the part about "No other water source being available" which...wouldn't have even been necessary if I had't predicted that someone just like you would crawl out of the woodwork and find ways to absolutely and intentionally fail to see any side of another person's viewpoint.

Someone like me?

You must mean someone that doesn't buy into your 'I go along but don't like it' rant.

The Prof. took his chances and lost.

You, as a water customer, would rather fight the existing system (and not knowing the details I wish you luck anyway) than find an alternative.

People that look for alternatives many times miss the point anyway. If something is wrong it needs to be fixed and not avoided.

Let's say:
your water proposal(s), whatever they are, bring about public dismay that leads to businesses moving OUT from your area and people become unemployeed and lose their homes, etc. Was it still worth it if you keep your job?

Had the Prof. won his point(s) whatever it/they were and two other Prof.s lost their jobs because of it would it have been worth it?

Pretty much depends on where someone is in the ol' pay-line doesn't it?




posted on May, 20 2005 @ 06:15 PM
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Either way, the professor is not losing anything here. He didn't get tenure, but he got a lot of publicity and I'm sure a lot of job offers. More students are interested in taking this Wacky, Zany, Controversial Figure's class now and competing institutions will be more than happy to yell, "ALL ABOAAARD! CHOO-CHOO!!" especially in light of his impressive resume.

Doaks is right on the money, in my opinion. This is unlike fighting a water company because there are many institutions now willing to supply this guy with buckets and buckets of water. The school knew that would be the case when they decided not to renew his contract, so they weren't losing any sleep about the politics behind the situation because they weren't exactly dropping an atom bomb on his career.

Zip



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 06:40 PM
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On Anarchy....
Of course using the establishment to bash the establishment isn't hypocritical. It's well-established, in fact, its rock'n roll. Jazz, Elvis, rap, punk, and rock are all founded challenges to authority paid for with the money of the Man. Radiohead is giving this a new voice today "they will suck you down / to the shadows blue and red"--meanwhile in the US, the population only votes against candidates (if they vote at all).

Sounds to me like its only a matter of time before we update our institutions; Bush is giving us a great example of why authority shouldn't be so centralized (and spending a FORTUNE doing it, aghem conservatives).

On Dr. Graeber...
He mentioned that there were plenty of job offers, so academic freedom still stands worldwide--its only been pooped on by the false-liberal Yale establishment. Judging from the campaign to reverse the decision, my guess is that his preference is to beat Yale on this issue for the matter of principle (and to keep getting paid by the man to attack the man). Like I said: rock'n roll.

In my personal opinion, the silver lining to this cloud is that with the discovery of a false-liberal university, everyone in America can begin to hate the dictators running Yale Inc. just as much as neo-conservatives hate liberal education at large.



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 07:25 PM
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Hear hear! There will probably be some very nasty truths to come out, and then this will be swept under the rug, the prof will go quietly, but everyone's minds will still be inflamed against "The Man". The "tear it all down" mission accomplished.

Probably find out he was trading grades for sex or something, and no one wanted to tarnish the school's reputation by letting it out. There's awlas something simpler, and more disgusting, under these allegations of "political" firings, especially in local governments and corporate settings. There's nothing in universities today that can get a liberal fired. Unless he's gone so anti-establishment he's turned against his Liberal masters and started speaking the truth.


Originally posted by Odd
the day they fire a college professor, especially at Yale, for being too liberal is the day that monkeys will pour in an unstaunchable tide from my arse.

i'll keep you posted on that.



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 08:53 PM
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Originally posted by PeaceBeWithYou
Graeber wasn't up for tenure yet. It should've been a normal promotion to associate prof. His field isn't political science either; its anthropology.

His students have created a website in his defense where Dr. Graeber actually posted his resume at :
www.geocities.com...
www.geocities.com...

Anyone that takes the time to review these two documents can see that Graeber's scholarship merited tenure before a dismissal. This body of work, for a scholar his age, is extraordinary.



I counted 7 peer-reviewed publications. The peer-reviewed pubs cease in 2001, although there are two "forthcoming" listings. One wonders why the peer-reviewed publications ceased. Perhaps there isn't an International Journal of Anarchy? "Invited" publications number 21, but 7 are "forthcoming". At least one other prof in the same department had a similar record. Most of the others in the dept. don't list their pubs.

By way of comparison, a chemistry prof I know at Emory University lists 30 journal publications between 2000 - 2003. I personally have 22 peer reviewed publications and book chapter since 1997. While I was at the Emory U. website, I checked on a recent faculty addition to their anthropology department. Prof. Henrich has 14 publications since 1997, and 9 book chapters.

So, Graeber certainly has a good CV, but not necessarily "extraordinary", even by anthropology standards.



posted on May, 21 2005 @ 12:51 AM
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Surprise, surprise folks!
Good ol' Joe has once again taken my hypothetical analogy literally AGAIN just to make a false point! w00t! keep it up!




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