Forty-one executive officers at the University of Illinois have published a letter to Barbara Wilson, the school’s acting chancellor, asking her and the college president “to facilitate the reinstatement of Steven Salaita.”
Now-former chancellor Phyllis Wise resigned after a chaotic back-and-forth almost two weeks ago. She was “implicated in a scandal” involving the refusal of public-record requests, some of which include emails pertaining to the withdraw of a job offer to Salaita.
Readers of The College Fix know that Salaita was initially hired by UI, but then had the offer rescinded after numerous nasty anti-Israel tweets by the professor surfaced.
“It is necessary to remedy clear violations of procedure in the decision to revoke Dr. Salaita’s appointment,” a press release about the letter stated. “To remove the stain on Illinois’ reputation that the entire affair has caused.”
In the letter, the executive officers, which includes department heads, chairs and directors, “urge” [President Timothy] Killeen and Wilson to use their influence with the Board of Trustees to reinstate Salaita at the next Board meeting on Sept. 10.
“It has increasingly become clear that the decision to rescind Dr. Steven Salaita’s appointment as an associate professor with indefinite tenure in the American Indian Studies Program violated the principles of shared faculty governance and may also be legally liable,” the authors stated.
On June 13, the University was censured by the American Association of University Professors for violating principles of academic freedom when Salaita was dismissed.
“We firmly believe that this step will help put the university on track toward ending AAUP censure and regaining its place among the most respected public institutions of higher education in the country,” the authors stated. “The decision to reinstate Dr. Salaita will also make it easier to resolve pending litigation and save the university community and state taxpayers from the high costs of defending a wrong decision in the court of law.”
The letter concludes with a request for a meeting with Killeen and Wilson.