CHICAGO – An embattled professor's fight to return to his classroom at DePaul University amid criticism for his views on the Holocaust ended quietly Wednesday after he agreed to resign immediately.
Norman Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, threatened to risk arrest by showing up on the first day of classes but negotiations with university officials led to a peaceful exit.
DePaul, a private Chicago Catholic university, recently informed Finkelstein that his three courses were canceled after being denied tenure in June after six years as a faculty member.
"I felt finally I had gotten what was my due and maybe it was time for everybody's sake that I move on," Finkelstein said at a press conference on campus where he issued a joint statement with DePaul.
A confidentiality agreement reached by Finkelstein and DePaul withheld terms of the settlement.
Critics find issue with Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, who believes that some Jews have exploited the legacy of the Holocaust.
The university, which called Finkelstein a "prolific scholar and an outstanding teacher," said outside parties, including Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who weighed in on Finkelstein, did not influence its decision to deny tenure. Finkelstein wrote a book criticizing Dershowitz's "The Case for Israel."
"Professor Finkelstein has expressed the view that he should have been granted tenure and that third parties external to the university influenced DePaul in denying tenure. That is not so," according to a joint statement reached between Finkelstein and DePaul University. DePaul will not comment further past the statement.
"I was denied tenure due to external pressures climaxing in a national hysteria that tainted the tenure process," Finkelstein said in the statement.
Finkelstein thanked the group of about 100 students wearing "We are all Professor Finkelstein" t-shirts in support of their beloved professor.
"I had some very dark moments. And yet everytime I walked into the classroom, however awful the moment was, my spirits were lifted seeing my students," Finkelstein said.
Andrew Riplinger, who showed up to support his favorite professor, was dropped from one of his classes.
"The students are really hurt by all of this," Riplinger, a political science and psychology senior at DePaul.
"I don't think that our role is done," said Kathryn Weber, president of the Academic Freedom Committee, a registered student group that organized amid the tenure debate to support Finkelstein. Weber also took two of Finkelstein's classes.
Finkelstein doesn't know what he is going to do next, but he said he's leaving "this school with my dignity intact."