The Duthu Denouement

Professor Duthu teaching a class at Dartmouth. (Photograph courtesy of Dartmouth College)

Professor Duthu teaching a class at Dartmouth. (Photograph courtesy of Dartmouth College)

Professor N. Bruce Duthu was nominated to be the next dean of faculty this past March. Last week, under pressure from what the administration deemed “external audiences,” Duthu withdrew his nomination for the post of Dean of the Faculty. It was clear from the start that the nomination process was deeply flawed. As DartBlog reported, Professor Andrew Samwick, Director of the Rockefeller Center, was one of several star professors not granted an opportunity to even interview for the job. Duthu, meanwhile, would have been the first Dean of Faculty to have not earned a doctoral degree, holding only a J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans. Academic qualifications aside, Duthu’s undoing stemmed largely from his continued dedication to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Professor Alan Gustman was the first to publicly object to the nomination, claiming that Duthu could not possibly coordinate free faculty collaboration while also holding a prejudice against Israeli academics. Gustman demanded that Duthu renounce his support for BDS, or decline his nomination. Although he went out on a limb, Gustman found fervent support from concerned alumni, faculty, and students, who shared his worries of a strongly biased Dean of Faculty. Making matters worse, Duthu, in refusing to step down, promised that he would not let his support for BDS get in the way of his judgment as dean and ultimately refused to disavow his support for BDS. Ultimately, however, installing a prejudiced Dean of Faculty in charge of who can and cannot collaborate with our faculty is like putting Wile E. Coyote in charge of an aviary, despite his tendency toward consuming high-speed birds. When he withdrew his nomination, Duthu vindicated all who opposed him. When forced to choose between his prejudice and advancing his career, Duthu chose continued support of the anti-Semitic BDS movement. His decision is essentially tantamount to an admission of guilt.

Yet Duthu supporters remain unconvinced or unconcerned about his prejudice. Native Americans at Dartmouth insist that opponents bullied Duthu into resigning – a lie which denigrates the victims of Duthu’s appointment. Indeed, Duthu’s opponents pressured him into renouncing his prejudices – as they should have – but they did not bully him into resigning. At the end of the day, Duthu chose to resign instead of renounce his support for BDS. The situation could have just as easily been resolved if Duthu renounced his support for BDS, apologized to the Jewish community, and continued on to accept the post of Dean of the Faculty. Yet, the Native community insists that the Jews’ sole objection to Duthu was his status as a Native American. However, does this status really excuse Duthu of the prejudices he holds? Does being white bar you from speaking out against prejudice? Apparently so, if the left would have their say.

NAD’s position reflects a frightening trend in the modern world of mainstreaming tendency toward anti-Semitism. According to the Syrian Government, the Jews were to blame a 2006 breakout of avian flu. According to 84% of Palestinians surveyed by their national newspaper, the Jews were to blame for the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attack, despite the fact that one of the Charlie Hebdo victims was Jewish and Hyper Cacher is a Jewish grocery store. Today, Native Americans at Dartmouth hold Jews – in addition to the greater pro-Israel community – culpable for opposing someone who supports a movement that seeks the destruction of their homeland, a state which was created for the express purpose of being a safe haven for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust.

The denouement of the Duthu affair should be a resolve to acknowledge that prejudice against Jews exists and to end it. Instead, the NAD organization seeks to perpetuate more prejudice. Intentional or unintentional, it would be in everyone’s best interest if they were to cease and desist.