Attention CUNY Community,
As of today, Kristofer Petersen-Overton has been unconditionally reappointed to teach his Middle East course for this Spring 2011 semester. Brooklyn College finally responded to the swiftly galvanized public pressure from CUNY folks, the community, and supporters (literally) worldwide who had heard about his case and spoke out. See BC President Karen Gould’s letter reprinted below.

We will hold a Celebration Rally at Brooklyn College this Thursday, on schedule at 12pm, and call on all supporters of university justice and academic freedom to join us. We all who fought this fight collectively won alongside Kristofer, we tremendously benefit from this victory, and so we all deserve to celebrate! See you there. (And take a look at the joyous new flyer!)

We Stopped the Attacks on Academic Freedom! Kristofer Petersen-Overton is back!

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 were a clear violation of academic freedom, including the university’s own official policy. We demanded 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 ultimately respected this academic freedom, and we urge it to do so with 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! We made this happen!


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

Sponsored by: CUNY Adjunct Project, CUNY Contingents Unite, Doctoral Students’ Council, Brooklyn College Student Union, Brooklyn College Palestine Club, Al Awda-NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, New York City Labor Against the War, American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC), Jews Say No!, too many more to now count!!!

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:

Also: check out THIS NEW AWESOME FLYER!!!