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Was Steven Salaita’s Appointment Axed Due to Donor Complaints?

Emails between University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise and opponents of Professor Steven Salaita show that “university donors, alumni and current students lobbied Wise to rescind” the position offered to Salaita at U.I.-Urbana-Champaign.

The Daily Illini obtained the emails through an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request.

The emails show that, once Salaita was informed by campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler that he would start his position on August 16th,

… dozens of emails began rolling in from donors, explicitly threatening the withdrawal of financial support if the University moved forward with Salaita’s appointment.

“We will now cease our annual contributions to the University and will let our fellow alumni know why we are doing so,” an alumnus said in an email, dated July 24. “We will encourage others to join us in this protest, as perhaps financial consequences will sway you even though morals, common sense and decency did not.”

Another University alumnus expressed dissatisfaction over Salaita’s hire, stating, “You also damage the reputation and standing of the University in the world, in the academic community, and will undoubtedly also affect the support of what is otherwise a fine institution from alumni, including myself.”

Chancellor Wise has stated that “the decision to withdraw Salaita’s job offer was not influenced by pressure from donors.” However, she has not commented on this recent revelation despite numerous attempts to reach her by The Daily Illini.

Read the full story here.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.