Reply received March 9, 2009
Dear Professor Aksan,
Thank you for thoughtful letter. But I want you to know that the assumption that Bard chose not to renew Professor Kovel's contract because of his political views, which do not strike us at Bard as controversial or novel, is false. In consultation with faculty, Bard elected not to renew Professor Kovel’s contract because, like all colleges, it faces severe fiscal constraints and is doing everything it can to preserve the employment of its full-time faculty. After fifteen years of serving as the full-time occupant of a non-tenured endowed chair, he voluntarily assumed part-time status in 2004. At that time he received a five-year contract, with the understanding that after those five years the college reserved the right to renew his position on a year-to-year basis. He knew it was possible that his position might not be renewed after the 2008–2009 academic year. Professor Kovel enjoyed a fine and productive career at Bard for more than twenty years. We are sorry for and astonished at his allegations, which have no basis in fact.
I would also like you to know that Bard recently became the first American institution of higher education to collaborate in a dual-degree program with a Palestinian university. If you would like to read about our partnership with Al-Quds in Abu Dis, please see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/world/middleeast/15quds.html. Our goal is to improve the Palestinian education system.
President, Bard College