Minutes after I wrote the above piece, Brooklyn College's President Karen L. Gould e-mailed that she had decided to give Overton the contract. I guess we'll never know if any conservative doctoral students exist and if so whether they have been given teaching positions. Here is President Gould's letter:
Dear students, faculty, and staff,
Over the past several days, as a result of a provostial decision about an adjunct appointment, Brooklyn College has been thrust into a debate about academic freedom. This debate has been fueled at times by inflammatory rhetoric and mischaracterization of the facts. It is unfortunate that matters of utmost importance to our college community can be so rapidly co-opted by those with a political agenda and distorted by the media.
I stand united with you: We must never allow decisions about our students' education to be swayed by outside influence. In the matter at hand, this certainly has not been the case. On behalf of every member of this institution, I reaffirm our steadfast commitment to the principles of academic freedom, faculty governance, and standards of excellence.
Today, the Department of Political Science and its appointments committee voted unanimously to recommend Kristofer Petersen-Overton to teach a graduate course on the Middle East. Based on information that has come to light, they are confident he has sufficient depth of knowledge and the intellectual capacity to successfully lead a graduate seminar. The provost now supports their recommendation, and I am in full agreement.
Brooklyn College continues to have a strong commitment to academic freedom. As one of the most diverse campuses in the United States, we value civil discourse on even the most difficult topics. We believe that open, substantive dialogue between those with different points of view is an essential component of a 21st-century education.
Equally essential are academic standards that ensure an excellent education for all students at all levels. During this calendar year, we will work together as faculty and administrators to ensure that our graduate programs are of the highest caliber.
It is now time for us to come together as a community and welcome Mr. Petersen-Overton to Brooklyn College. We wish him and his students a productive, rewarding semester of graduate study.
Karen L. Gould