Stop Attacks on Academic Freedom! Reinstate Kristofer Petersen-Overton!

Just a week before the start of spring semester classes, Kristofer Petersen-Overton was fired from his position as an adjunct lecturer of political science at Brooklyn College. A scholar highly regarded by many distinguished faculty at CUNY, Petersen-Overton was scheduled to teach a Middle East Politics course. His firing by Provost William Tramontano came hours after college President Karen Lee Gould was contacted by a New York State assemblyman who complained about the instructor’s academic writings on Israel and the Palestinians. It is clear that Petersen-Overton’s dismissal was the product of political pressure.

The college’s actions are a clear violation of academic freedom, including the university’s own official policy. We demand that Petersen-Overton be fully reinstated in his position, and that his course on Middle East Politics be allowed to proceed as originally designed. The university must respect the academic freedom of all its employees and students. This is especially crucial with contingent faculty like Petersen-Overton, who receive none of the protections of tenure despite the fact that they teach the majority of courses at the City University of New York.

Stopping attacks on academic freedom is crucial to the rights of all of us who work and study at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York!

RALLY details

When: Thursday, February 3, 12-2pm

Where: Brooklyn College
Outside Boylan Hall in the campus Quad, near Bedford Ave.
Trains: Q Local to the Avenue H station, at Avenue H & East 16th Street. Walk 4 blocks east to the Ocean Avenue entrance. #2 (7th Avenue Local) or #5 (Lexington Avenue Express) to the Flatbush Avenue/Nostrand Avenue station.

Featured speaker: Kristofer Petersen-Overton (list in formation)

Sponsored by: CUNY Adjunct Project, CUNY Contingents Unite, Doctoral Students’ Council, Brooklyn College Student Union, Brooklyn College Palestine Club (list in formation)

For more info, or to co-sponsor, contact: Conor Tomás Reed at, 979.204.9253

UPDATES: The GC Advocate is keeping a live blog on the case and they have compiled many of the letters that prominent intellectuals have sent to Brooklyn College on behalf of academic freedom (including, among others, Neve Gordon, Noam Chomsky, Rosalind Petchesky, Susan Buck-Morss, Marshall Berman, Katha Pollitt, Anne Norton, John Wallach, Moustafa Bayoumi, Greg Grandin, and President of the AAUP Cary Nelson). See the following links:

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Brooklyn College rally this Thurs, 12-2pm, to defend Kristofer Petersen-Overton and Academic Freedom!

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