Brooklyn College: Public Pressure Against Student Instructor

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a doctoral student at the City University of New York Graduate Center, was hired by Brooklyn College’s Department of Political Science to teach a spring 2011 course on Middle Eastern politics. Shortly following receipt of a letter from New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind challenging the hire and the academic merit of the course, Brooklyn College abruptly terminated the hire, claiming merely that Petersen-Overton was too early in his program of study to be allowed to teach the course. FIRE wrote a letter to Brooklyn College President Karen L. Gould in January 2011 asking the school to clarify its actions. Facing criticism from FIRE and others, the school quickly reviewed its actions and reinstated Petersen-Overton, protecting academic freedom on its campus.

  • Backlash over firing of pro-Palestinian professor

    January 28, 2011

    A watchdog group that defends academic freedom has now weighed in on the case of a Brooklyn College professor who was fired after complaints from a local politician about his pro-Palestinian views. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sent off a letter today to the president of Brooklyn College about the case of Kristofer Petersen-Overton, who was fired after he was appointed to teach a course on Middle East politics but before the class had actually started. I detailed the firing, which Brooklyn College maintains was a matter of credentials, here.  FIRE, whose mission is to “defend and […]

    » Read More

  • Brooklyn College Reinstates Professor after Controversy

    February 1, 2011

    Brooklyn College (BC) has reinstated an adjunct instructor it fired just days ago. Kristofer Petersen-Overton, who is also a graduate student, had been fired shortly after his academic writings and his course, “Politics of the Middle East,” were condemned by a member of the New York State Assembly, Dov Hikind. FIRE wrote BC President Karen L. Gould last Friday, raising questions about academic freedom and due process in its treatment of Petersen-Overton, and reminding BC of its duty to uphold constitutional rights on campus. Fortunately, BC has reviewed its actions and reversed course. While this incident should never have taken place, BC deserves praise […]

    » Read More