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For immediate release
April 10, 2002
Jenny Lawhorn

Will He Stay Or Will He Go?

I've Certainly Reached a Decision, Professor Cornel West Tells NPR's Tavis Smiley

WASHINGTON, DC-In an interview that aired today with NPR® host Tavis Smiley, Harvard University Professor Dr. Cornel West said he had reached a decision about his future at Harvard, and that an announcement would be made later this week. West also said that he would discuss his decision in an in-depth, exclusive interview on the Monday, April 15 edition of The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR.

West appears every Wednesday as a regular commentator on The Tavis Smiley Show. At the close of today's conversation, Smiley asked West if there would be an announcement about whether he would remain at Harvard or leave for another institution.

"Well…I have certainly reached a decision - there is no doubt about that," said West. "I will not say a word about that until Monday with you… I want you to be the first person to have any information about this…but, indeed, an announcement will be made later on this week, and we'll see how the cookie crumbles in this regard. But I do look forward to talking to you on Monday morning about this decision."

During a January 7, 2002 interview on The Tavis Smiley Show, West had characterized a private meeting he had with Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers in October 2001 as an attack on his integrity and his "popular" versus "pure" academic work. "I have never been attacked and insulted in that particular way," West told Smiley on January 7. "It is a matter of respect." Asked about the possibility of leaving Harvard for Princeton, West continued, "It's not simply a sense of turning away from Harvard…it's also a turning towards something that is positive, something that is visionary, something that is appreciative…In a deep sense I weep for Harvard, because Harvard has meant much to me."

Smiley's exclusive interview with Cornel West will air on the Monday, April 15 edition of The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR, a daily one-hour magazine that engages national radio audiences with new voices and fresh perspectives. The Tavis Smiley Show premiered on January 7, 2002, and now reaches listeners through 20 public radio stations, including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Houston, and Atlanta. For local station broadcast times, or to hear the program on the Web, visit Audio from each day's show is available online after 12:00 P.M. EST.

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.