Brooklyn College reinstates teacher fired for scholarship on Palestine
Brooklyn College’s decision today to reinstate Kristofer Petersen-Overton’s teaching position is being hailed as a victory for academic freedom. Petersen-Overton, a PhD student at CUNY’s Graduate Center, was let go just 24-hours after state assemblyman Dov Hikind allegedly contacted CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein to complain of Petersen-Overton’s supposed sympathy for suicide bombers. Hikind, a former Brooklyn College alumnus, previously made his mark in the smear campaign that led to the removal of educator Debbie Almontaser.
The Brooklyn College Political Science Department called an emergency meeting today during which faculty voted unanimously to recommend that Petersen-Overton be hired to teach a course titled “Politics of the Middle East.” This was followed with a unanimous vote by the Political Science Appointments Committee to officially hire him. A meeting between the Chair of the Political Science Department, Provost William Tramontano, President Karen Gould and others then ensued.