March 15, 2007

Prof. Rabkin Resigns After Lengthy Tenure

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Prof. Jeremy Rabkin ’74, government, recently announced his resignation from Cornell, effective July 1. According to the government department, Rabkin has accepted a position teaching international law at George Mason School of Law in Washington, D.C.

“Unfortunately for [Cornell], he has taken a position at George Mason,” said Judy Vergilio, the government department manager.

According to Vergilio, Rabkin will finish teaching this semester at Cornell. Faculty, staff and graduate students have been notified of his departure.

Although Rabkin’s resignation takes effect this July, he will continue to work with graduate students for at least a year following his departure.

Rabkin was unavailable for comment.

Prof. Christopher Way, director of graduate studies in the government department, said, “Most graduate students will not be adversely affected by his departure. People already working with him will be able to continue to do so.”

During his time at Cornell, through debates, lectures and other speaking venues, Rabkin has developed a reputation as a dynamic, informative professor with a conservative viewpoint.

“It’s a terrible, terrible loss, not just for conservatives throughout campus, but for Cornell as well,” said Megan Sweeney ’07, a student in Rabkin’s GOVT389: International Law and president of the College Republicans. “He’s a wealth of knowledge and an institution at Cornell.”

Sweeney is also a Sun columnist.

Greg Clother ’07, another student in GOVT389, agreed. “I know he’s one of the few conservative professors on campus, and he has extensive knowledge on international relations. He really adds to the campus discourse.”

The government department was quick to explain that undergraduate students are not the only students who will be affected by Rabkin’s departure, underscoring his importance to Cornell.

“Although he is well known for the quality of teaching undergraduate students, he has also been an important part of graduate programs and will be missed by graduate students as well,” Way said.

According to Prof. Allen Carlson, government, Rabkin’s departure will not only affect the government department, but the entire University.

“It is clear to me that Jeremy’s leaving is certainly a loss for Cornell. Professor Rabkin is an engaging lecturer, a productive scholar, and presents a relatively unique perspective on contemporary American politics within the University and Department,”

As a prominent conservative voice on campus, Rabkin often presented opinions that strayed from others in the government department, the majority of which are registered Democrats. Some students expressed their concerns that, with Rabkin’s resignation, the government department will no longer be as intellectually diverse.

“I think in general there is an overwhelming liberal bias in faculty at Cornell. As Rabkin was the only registered Republican in the government department, [the loss of Rabkin] is an extreme detriment that will be reflected in recruitment at Cornell,” Sweeney said.

Other conservative students agreed and believe that in choosing Rabkin’s replacement, the University should aim to add to the intellectual dialogue.

Paul Ibrahim ’06, a first-year law student at George Mason and former College Republicans president said, “I think it would benefit Cornell and the government department to seek out intellectual diversity. This is something that should be a continued philosophy of both the University as a whole and the government department. It’s very sad for Cornell, but fantastic news for Rabkin and the George Mason School of Law.”
Ibrahim was formerly a Sun columnist.

Whether the government department will consider political affiliations in finding Rabkin’s replacement has not yet been determined.

“It’s too early, I can’t say. [Rabkin’s departure] was a surprise,” Way said.

Rabkin began teaching at Cornell in the fall of 1980 shortly after receiving his Ph.D from Harvard. During his time at Cornell, he testified before Congress numerous times and has published several books and academic journal articles. In 1999 and again in 2001, he was named Cornell’s most influential teacher by Merrill Presidential scholars.