‘Decline and Decay’: Dr. Cornel West Releases Harvard Resignation Letter

By: Alyssa Wilson

Black philosopher Dr. Cornel West has resigned from his position at Harvard University’s Divinity School and released his official resignation letter.  

He posted the letter on social media, saying, “This is my candid letter of resignation to my Harvard Dean. I try to tell the unvarnished truth about the decadence in our market-driven universities! Let us bear witness against this spiritual rot!” 

In March, the 68-year-old said he was ready to leave Harvard and head to the Union Theological Seminary in New York after being denied tenure, The Washington Post reported.  

RELATED: Cornel West Leaves Harvard University After Tenure Position Controversy 

The letter said, “How sad it is to see our beloved Harvard Divinity School in such decline and decay. The disarray of a scattered curriculum, the disenchantment of talented yet deferential faculty, and the disorientation of precious students loom large.”  

RELATED: Dr. Cornel West: Biden is President Because of Black People  

This is not the first high-profile case of an influential Black leader leaving an institution over tenure controversy. Most recently, award-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones left the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill over her tenure after she released the 1619 Project with The New York Times.  

RELATED: Nikole Hannah-Jones Heading to Howard University After Declining UNC Tenure 

After public outcry and protests, Hannah-Jones was granted tenure, but she turned it down to start a tenured position at HBCU Howard University. She will help launch the institution’s new Center for Democracy and Journalism. Support for her move to Howard along with journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates brought in $20 million to the university as foundations pledged their support.  

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available online here. 

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