Candidate turns down administrative job offer following allegations of anti-Semitism
Bruce Duthu, associate dean of the faculty for international studies and interdisciplinary programs at Dartmouth College, was offered the position of dean of the faculty. Duthu announced that he would not accept the appointment after a fellow professor circulated a letter questioning its merit. The letter described Duthu’s alleged involvement in helping to author a 2013 statement by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) advocating a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The letter claimed that Duthu was unsuitable for the position, given the allegedly anti-Semitic nature of his actions.
Bruce Duthu is an authority on Native American law and public policy. He is also an enrolled member of the United Houma Nation, Inside Higher Ed reports. Faculty members who had worked with Duthu said that, given his track record as an administrator responsible for faculty interests in many disciplines, he would make a fine dean of the faculty. Others, however, accused him of engaging in anti-Semitic actions after it was revealed that he had helped author a call to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Duthu’s colleagues said that they had never heard Duthu make anti-Semitic statements or exhibit anti-Semitic behavior. In fact, they said, he had helped orchestrate a student exchange program with Israeli universities and brought Israeli faculty to teach at Dartmouth College. His term as associate dean ended in June 2017.
Alan Gustman, a professor of economics at Dartmouth, circulated a letter in the wake of Duthu’s prospective appointment as dean of the faculty that drew attention to his endorsement of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Gustman argued that due to the nature of Dartmouth College’s history as an institution that, like others in the Ivy League, restricted the enrollment of Jewish students, Duthu’s appointment would only serve to dredge up darker pieces of the College’s past, The Observer reports.
Before he withdrew his availability for the appointment, Duthu made a statement rejecting the notion of academic boycotts, thus seemingly dissenting from the NAISA position. Duthu wrote that while he believed in a private citizen’s right to criticize any country’s governing policies, he did not believe in the boycott of academic institutions, according to The Dartmouth.
An organization called Native Americans at Dartmouth (NAD) issued a statement in support of Duthu. The organization said that the color of Duthu’s skin had led to a heightened criticism of his credentials for the position. NAD argued that criticism of Duthu was coming from members of a community within the Dartmouth faculty that had benefited from a system lacking in diversity, reports The Dartmouth. Other members of the Dartmouth community signed the statement in support of the NAD’s sentiments.
Debate sparked at Dartmouth College
Many faculty members and student organizations weighed in on the controversy surrounding Duthu’s appointment. His colleagues pointed out that he had been instrumental in promoting programs involving Israeli students and faculty on campus, Inside Higher Ed reports.
Duthu withdrew his name from consideration
Duthu withdrew his name from consideration for the position of dean of the faculty, saying that the controversy surrounding his appointment was interfering with his ability to do his job. He did, however, assert that he believed in a private citizen’s right to criticize any government.
Prepared by Chris Castano ‘16
August 22, 2017