Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Media Discovers YU's Squeezing of Otteson

From a friend who wishes to remain anonymous:

As mentioned in July, YU has been doocing conservatives. Well, the media has finally caught on to YU's firing of acclaimed professor James Otteson from its Honors program. Some juicy details - including some uncovered email exchanges - are involved, so this is definitely worth the read. (You don't have to register - click the button next to it.) Here is background.

I hope YU learns its lesson. If it ever wants to become a real school, it is going to have to start acting like one. (And not like Harvard either...)

In one of the e-mails obtained by JTA, Otteson quoted Joel as telling him directly that he had the Y.U. president's support until he discovered the blog, some parts of which are deemed as offensive to women. Otteson also quoted Joel as calling him a "right-winger" and "not a suitable role model for students."

Otteson even contemplated a lawsuit against the university for breach of contract but has since backed down, according to the e-mails.

"My integrity and honor have been questioned," Otteson wrote. "And, more than that, what I believe are the most fundamental principles of education -- the marketplace of ideas, mutual tolerance and civility, disinterested pursuit of the truth, and, not least, liberty and independence of thought -- have been sacrificed to the altars of political correctness, intolerance, and bigotry. This is wrong and it must stop."


  1. So far all the presented articles and comments are nothing but unconfirmed speculation, with a bunch of "I believe's" thrown in. JTA has emails huh? Where did they get them? Frum YU or from Otteson? What is the full context of those emails? To disparage YU or Otteson on the basis of "he said" "they said" allegations that have no way of being confirmed or verified is to engage in speculative gossip. If Dr. Otteson believes he has a legitimate basis for saying he was unfairly fired he has a remedy in the courts--the legal ones. This really shouldn't be playing out in the court of public opinion, opinions that have no real facts to work with. Anything we know is not even second-hand--it's hundredth-hand. I, for one, would not like it if people were talking about me based on such flimsy evidence.

  2. I will restate my desire to know the number of students in the Honors Program.

  3. If they can remove a Rosh Yeshivas funding for his kollel (R' Aharon Kahn) and in essence demote him because they don't like his philosophy, why are you surprised they did it to a preofessor?

  4. G - does that matter? (Not being argumentative, just wondering)

  5. Well, if part of the 'uproar' was his popularity among students i would like to know how many (what %) of them actually signed the petition.