Sunday, July 20, 2008

YU Forces Out Professor

This is certainly going to get interesting. Much to the consternation of numerous students at Yeshiva University, the University asked Professor James Otteson to resign from his position as the director of the Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College.

To sum up the story as best as I understand it at this point, Prof. Otteson was hired last year to run and revamp the Honors Program at YU. Everything seemed to be progressing well, and Otteson was quite popular among the students at YU, as his plans for the school were approved and he raised funds to support the program. However, other professors were apparently unhappy with Otteson, apparently primarily because of his political beliefs, and pressured the school to get rid of him; YU asked him to resign, despite a signed letter from over 50 students supporting Otteson. When questioning the school, the students were informed that his blog - Proportional Belief - played a sizable role in the decision.

One can read the blog and determine for themselves whether there is anything remotely controversial; I did a quick scan of my own and saw nothing that is even close to "over the line". He is discussing rather typical political and sociological issues and giving his own conservative viewpoint - nothing stronger than what one might hear on a typical radio talk show. Obviously, this Proportional Outrage blog is meant to play off Otteson's blog's name while demonstrating support for him; it has excellent links detailing much of the official correspondence and discussion regarding Otteson. It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out, especially considering it is at YU.