West leaves Harvard, gets arrested
Well, it's official: fed up with disrespect from new Harvard President Larry Summers, beloved Afro-American studies professor Cornel West has decided to leave for Princeton. The NYTimes even quotes a "close associate" of West as saying: "It's clear there's only one reason he's going to Princeton... It's Larry."
Thanks a lot, Larry. West will be sorely missed, but I can't blame him (see my earlier post on the subject). If Henry Louis Gates, Jr. also decides to leave (which now seems likely), that will be the final nail in the coffin for Harvard's Afro-American Studies "Dream Team."
And in case you were wondering why Cornel couldn't previously be reached for comment on his Harvard departure, maybe it was because he was busy down in DC participating in some good old-fashioned peaceful protest. According to the Washington Post, West and friend/co-author Rabbi Michael Lerner (editor of progressive Jewish magazine Tikkun) were among those arrested in a pro-Mideast-peace demonstration outside the Washington State Department yesterday. Unfortunately the Post was more interested in the demonstrators' trips to the bathroom than the issues at stake, but it will have to do for now. All I can say is, Harvard could use more professors willing to be taken away in handcuffs for a good cause, not less.
Side-note: one thing I forgot to mention about the whole Summers/West conflict is that West was upset about more than just his own treatment--he (and other Afro-Am faculty) felt that Summers was not committed to diversity at Harvard in general. As I think will become clear in future Larry Summers news, this is all too true.