Kennedy reaffirms Wise's decision

Kennedy reaffirms Wise's decision

Trustees chairman gives chancellor his support as English department votes no confidence

URBANA — In response to recent rumblings about a change in strategy regarding Steven Salaita, University of Illinois Board of Trustee Chairman Christopher Kennedy on Tuesday reaffirmed his support of the chancellor's decision to not forward the controversial professor's appointment to the board for approval.

"The board has been supportive of the chancellor's decision in the past, and as we look to the future, I doubt the board's position will change," Kennedy told The News-Gazette on Tuesday.

His comments come amid some speculation that Salaita's appointment may appear on UI trustees' agenda next week, essentially forcing them to vote publicly on the case.

Chancellor Phyllis Wise wrote to Salaita on Aug. 1, saying she would not forward his appointment to the board because an affirmative vote was unlikely.

Meanwhile Tuesday, the English Department on the Urbana campus approved a vote of no confidence in the board, President Bob Easter and Wise, adding its name to the list of academic units voicing concern about administration overriding faculty decisions and violating principles of shared governance, academic freedom and freedom of speech.

"Our statement names the board of trustees first because we think the bulk of the responsibility for this terrible decision lies with the trustees and we believe more attention should be paid to their role in the events," English professor and chair Michael Rothberg told The News-Gazette late Tuesday.

More than 50 faculty members participated in the vote, Rothberg said, adding that the result was "overwhelmingly" in favor of the resolution.

This evening, Wise and Provost Ilesanmi Adesida are scheduled to meet with the Illinois Student Senate, and students on both sides of the issue are expected to speak. Also ongoing is the circulation of a letter of support for the chancellor by community members and other faculty.

Two committees of the board meet today via video conferences, but the board as a whole will next meet on Sept. 11, in Urbana; it's a regularly scheduled board meeting. Trustees have final say on faculty appointment matters, per university statutes, and academic appointments are typically approved by voice vote at board meetings. Such appointments are forwarded to the board as part of its regular agenda.

University spokesman Tom Hardy on Tuesday said he was not aware of any change in the Salaita situation.

The board's agenda, however, is still being assembled and has not been finalized.

Salaita was expected to start teaching American Indian Studies courses this fall, but last month Wise and Vice President Christophe Pierre said Salaita's appointment would not be forwarded to the board for formal approval. The move followed an outcry to Salaita's profanity-rich social media posts in which he blasted Israel and its supporters in the wake of Israel's invasion of Gaza.

Wealthy alumni, students, parents of students and others wrote to Wise to object to his hiring, with some threatening to withhold financial support of the university if he joined the faculty. Salaita was a Virginia Tech professor until he resigned last year after he accepted the offer from the UI.

Wise had said her decision was based out of concern for the students, campus and community. In a previously released statement, the board has come out expressing "unwavering support" for Wise, saying the university campuses "must be safe harbors where students and faculty from all backgrounds and cultures feel valued, respected and comfortable expressing their views."

But in the ensuing days, the statement sparked outrage among some faculty on the Urbana campus and at other universities. In Urbana, one group held a rally outside Wise's office calling for her to reinstate Salaita and some scholars have canceled their talks as part of an academic boycott of the university.

In its statement Tuesday, the English Department's said the vote "expresses grave disappointment in the way the administration has overridden the multiple levels of rigorous faculty review that make up any offer of a tenured position at our university."

"We are deeply troubled by the disregard for academic freedom, freedom of speech, and the principles of shared governance as well as the complete lack of faculty consultation that the administration has demonstrated. In addition, we are concerned about the possibility that the administration's decision was influenced by political considerations and by the interference of donors and alumni. If this decision is not reversed, we fear that the reputation of the University of Illinois as a site of scholarly excellence and diverse viewpoints will suffer permanent damage. In the face of the administration's troubling actions, we call for the reinstatement of Professor Salaita and we reaffirm the established protocols for hiring, tenure, and promotion that have allowed us to recruit and retain top faculty," the department's statement read.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Bulldogmojo wrote on September 03, 2014 at 9:09 am

 

What a shock, bought and paid for...ugh

Skepticity wrote on September 03, 2014 at 10:09 am

The story is purported to be about Mr. Kennedy reaffirming the decision by Dr. Wise to not hire Mr. Salaita.  However, the author of this article devotes the greater part of the article to explaining the situation and reprinting the views of those critical of the decision to not hire Mr. Salaita, thus revealing her position on this issue. This is supposed to be a news story, not an opinion piece. 

The statement from the English Department continues to allege that Dr. Wise made her decision based on donor influences, and decries the supposed loss of academic freedom. The statement laments the possible loss of "diverse views" at the University.  The diverse views of those other than supporters of the left have long been suppressed at the University. 

The statement issued by the English Department ignores the irresponsible public statements made by Mr. Salaita in his tweets, statements clearly demonstrating his lack of professionalism and unsuitability for a position as professor at the University.  If Mr. Salaita's tweets are representative of thought in departments at the University, and such expression is viewed as appropriate, then attention should be given to those who have previously been hired and their suitability for their positions should be re-evaluated. 

Freedom of expression and academic freedom are not license to damage the reputation of your prospective employer with impunity by making irresponsible vulgar public statements.  Academic employees with advanced degrees are expected to make arguments that reflect their position, including using appropriate language and not advocating people being kidnapped and killed.  Mr. Salaita has shown he lacks the professionalism to be granted a position at the University of Illinois. 

Mike wrote on September 04, 2014 at 12:09 am

Holy smokes. You are my hero. I've been arguing this to folks for, well, however long this has been going on and keep coming off as a jerk. 

You're spot on. And I'm not being sarcastic. 

Thanks. Wow.

Manscape wrote on September 03, 2014 at 11:09 am

I can't believe the English Dept. actually wrote this part: "expresses grave disappointment in the way the administration has overridden the multiple levels of rigorous faculty review that make up any offer of a tenured position at our university."

It was a "Department" of 5 people, one of whom sat on Mr. Salaita's thesis committee. A very rigorous process indeed. This hire wasn't properly vetted at the college level, which is already being addressed so no future "Salaitas" can ever harm this University.

And no one has mentioned VT in their stories. It seems odd that this University hasn't offered Salaita his former position. When offers are rescinded (happens more often than is known), the former school usually steps up to welcome back the person. Also, why haven't these other schools (the ones "boycotting" U of I) stepped up to offer Salaita a position?

If these professors in these "departments" truly want Salaita as a colleague at their University, then, well, the humanities at U of I have truly reached a new low.

 

oramahi wrote on September 03, 2014 at 11:09 am

The ones who suffer the most are the faculty and students. The UIUC image suffers significantly when academic freedom becomes a commodity with a variable value.

The chancellor has to come clean and transparent and state in most unequivocal terms whether wealthy donors (some are businessmen without any clue of the elements of civilization) had influenced her decision and the decision of the President and the Board. 

Yes, being an alumnus of UIUC (MS and PhD), I have a lot to lose from this decision and lack of transparency on the part of Chancellor Wise, much more than she would.   This ugly episode will not spell over as some are speculating but will be on the UIUC Wikipedia web site, possibly for as long as the internet exists.

I fear the damage to UIUC reputation is real. It will be incremental, but will carry on for many years to come.  The information that I have read thus far suggests that neither the President, the Chancellor  or the Board care much about the reputation that took many years to build.  

Recruiting faculty will not be a problem for UIUC, but recruiting visionaries and academic leaders is a different story altogether.  The question is will the silent majority (of the faculty) let egos of highly paid administrators tarnish what they labored for so many years and so hard to build (with much less money)?

Administrators are best doing their administration work (we hope). The university is built NOT by the money of the "presidential club" or other clubs' donors but by the hard work of the faculty and students.  

Perhaps it is high time to reconsider the influence of donors in academic institutions and establish guidelines that require full transparency and accountability.

 

Omar Ramahi

 

from Wikipedia on UIUC:

Rocky7 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Dr. Ramahi,

WIth all due respect, your reputation will remain intact regardless what happened at UIUC after you earned your PhD.  Why? after three years or less,people ask what you hve been doing in your line of work since graduating rather than where you earned your degree.  It is track record that counts from day one afer earning that PhD.

I learned this less than three years after earning a PhD when interviewed for a job by the Provost of the University of Pennsyvania.  After the usual pleasantaries, he asked me to identify WHERE and WHEN I did the work that appeared on my publicaiton list.  Clearly he wanted to know if I was just mining my thesis, or whether I had produced new research  and publishing it since leaving graduate school. Fortunately, half of the publications were post graduation and I was offered and accepted a faculty appointment there.

As a graduate of UIUC, you are not required to carry with you any difficuties they have had or contrversies that have arisen, except, perhaps, some good-natured ribbing at the water cooler.

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 03, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Clearly; your degree was not in English.

spangwurfelt wrote on September 04, 2014 at 6:09 am

Says the man misusing the semi-colon. 

Robert Haymond wrote on September 09, 2014 at 7:09 pm

You're a silly man, Omar.  Steven Salaita is no visionary; but he is a man who disgorges hatred.  Why would anyone on any university campus anywhere wish to include such a person as a would-be colleague when that person obviates the very basis of university life?  It's called dialogue.  Now stop fretting, Omar, get back to real work and build up your resume. 

dlgreen50 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 11:09 am

Make no mistake about it; Salaita is an excellent scholar and teacher,  and an excellent hire; broad and deep. He is from an oppressed group with which he identifies, and is being oppressed by the wealthy and privileged who have no problems with trying to rule the world by force. All the rest is BS. -- David Green

spangwurfelt wrote on September 03, 2014 at 1:09 pm

"and is being oppressed by the wealthy and privileged who have no problems with trying to rule the world by force."

Wow. Brush a little broad there?

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 03, 2014 at 1:09 pm

I agree.  In regard to the U of I fiasco; it would appear to rule by secret conspiracy, and intimidation rather than force.

dlgreen50 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 2:09 pm

"Wow. Brush a little broad there?"  We're talking about a privileged class of individuals, as exemplified by the signatories on the back page of Sunday's Commentary section, who are strongly identified with U.S. foreign policy, especially in regard to military-technological-surveillance relationships with Israel. To accept without question that the U.S. must maintain its "prestige" in the world through force and the threat of force is every bit as common among these people as the ridiculous notion that the university must maintain its "prestige" by having high paid administrators and football/basketball coaches. Not exactly a stretch. You can go on Youtube and watch "Manufacturing Consent" if you want the details. -- David Green

spangwurfelt wrote on September 03, 2014 at 6:09 pm

"We're talking about a privileged class of individuals"

A guy about to walk into a job-for-life *starting* at $85K + hella benefits sounds pretty privileged to me, by any measure except maybe the very narrow ones used by paleo-Chomsky-ites, which you so obligingly confirmed you are. Welcome to 1975! And while you're there, check your "privilege" privilege.

Manscape wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

You make that assertion based on what facts? Excellent scholar and teacher? He was vetted by a department of 5 people, one of which was on his thesis committee and for all we know owes him a favor. Oh, he is an "excellent scholar and teacher" because he is anti-semetic/anti-Israel. That's what qualifies as excellent for you. Got it.

dlgreen50 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

You can pretend to be or perhaps really are truly ignorant, but Salaita has an excellent record of publication and teaching, attested to by the dossier that was posted on this website. He would bring important critiques of settler colonialism and indigenous literature to this campus from a variety of cultural perspectives, including Arab and American Indian. His reputation is stellar in this regard. His hiring was no accident in terms of his reputation and accomplishments. But because he is critical of the IDF killing Palestinian children, he is turned into an object of hatred by those who accuse him of hate. This website has become an anti-Salaita hatefest by those who claim to uphold "civility." The words of people like you only affirm the justice of Salaita's outrage. -- David Green

spangwurfelt wrote on September 03, 2014 at 6:09 pm

"But because he is critical of the IDF killing Palestinian children"

That and cheering the death of Israeli civilians, an act you like to call "passionate" but the rest of us call squalid.

Manscape wrote on September 03, 2014 at 6:09 pm

How do my words about the sham of his vetting have anything to do with "the justice of Salaita's outrage"?

And whenever you come out of the woodwork to support a cause, it automatically looses credibility. Good luck running for Congress.

spangwurfelt wrote on September 04, 2014 at 6:09 am

It's hard to decide who lets whom down harder, Salaita or his "supporters."

Robert Haymond wrote on September 09, 2014 at 7:09 pm

"oppressed group"?  Where have you been living, David?  Sounds like lala land.

tominmadison wrote on September 03, 2014 at 12:09 pm

For those of us on line, would the ng please point us to the open letter? I can't seem to find it online. Thank you.

Mike Howie wrote on September 03, 2014 at 2:09 pm
Profile Picture

It wasn't online because it was a print-only ad. But we've posted it as a pdf here: 

http://www.news-gazette.com/sites/all/files/pdf/2014/09/03/0831_C06_FPA.pdf

Mike Howie

online editor

dlgreen50 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 2:09 pm

A who's who of the local Evil Party/Stupid Party monied and aspiring class. -- David Green

wayward wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

The people opposing Salaita's hire have the right to their opinion too.

Manscape wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Why the personal attack on these people? That's not very kumbahya (is that how it's spelled, Davey?) of you.

dlgreen50 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 4:09 pm

It's interesting that you don't use your real name and then you ridicule mine. In any event, these individuals are, in a high-minded way, engaging in a personal and baseless attack on an individual who in good faith applied for a job and was hired for it. They couch their racism and indeed hate in pleas for "civility." It's not personal with me regarding them; it's that their words are a form of vile political and personal attack. They lord their money and influence over others. Just look at the list. -- David Green

Manscape wrote on September 03, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Instead of doing this in a "high-minded way", would you approve if they had conducted themselves as Salaita did on twitter? That wasn't too "high-minded", yet you are not critical of that? Just asking questions, Dave.

Sancho Panza wrote on September 03, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Ad hominem arguments (e.g. "just look at the list") by David Green = not personal attacks?

Sancho Panza wrote on September 03, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Ad hominem arguments (e.g. "just look at the list") by David Green = not personal attacks?

dlgreen50 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 6:09 pm

"ad hominem"?? I'm pointing out that this list reads like a who's who of local politicians, developers, bankers, lawyers, landlords, etc. They have their class interests. It's not personal to point that out. It's anything but personal. They're entitled to their class interests, and they pursue them with a vengeance. And support for Israel, an established part of elite ideology in this country, has become part and parcel of the way they view the world. It's inherently racist vis a vis Palestinians. As Salaita says, they should just own it, instead of cloaking their views in (racially-charged) demands for "civility." -- David Green

Sancho Panza wrote on September 03, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Thanks for redoubling your ad hominem argument.

An ad hominem argument is a logical fallacy which "appeals to a person's prejudices or special interests" or "points out that someone is in circumstances such that they are disposed to take a particular position".

spangwurfelt wrote on September 04, 2014 at 7:09 am

Double talk from Green. If you agree with him, it's truth, justice, etc. but if you disagree with him you're only asserting "class interests" and are "elite" and "racist."

If he hadn't already made it clear why the places in the district that knew him best voted for him least, you're seeing more of it now. I nominate him for "Biggest chip on his shoulder of 2014."

dlgreen50 wrote on September 04, 2014 at 9:09 am

So you resort to an ad hominem argument yourself. It's becoming pretty clear the local/state class interests that are manifesting themselves in this case. It takes a lot of denial and a lot of indoctrination not to call a spade a spade. We have thousands of years of history to prove that those with wealth, power, and privilege will adopt views that help them to maintain those things. Support for Israel and U.S. foreign policy in general is one of those things. Your response, of course, is to change the subject. -- David Green

Manscape wrote on September 04, 2014 at 11:09 am

Dave, please stop. You already had little to no credibility but lost all of it when you said this:

"It's clear that he was calling for an end to Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, INDEED BY PEACEFUL MEANS (emphasis mine)." -- David Green

in response to this:
"You may be too refined to say it, but I'm not: I wish all the (expletive) West Bank settlers would go missing." - Mr. Salaita

 

 

spangwurfelt wrote on September 04, 2014 at 12:09 pm

"It's becoming pretty clear the local/state class interests that are manifesting themselves in this case."

I'm sure nothing is more important to e.g. Fox and Atkins than US foreign policy. I'm sure that's their most important criterion in making business decisions, because it affects them so incredibly much. Somehow, in David Green's brain if nowhere else.

"It takes a lot of denial and a lot of indoctrination not to call a spade a spade."

If I called you what you are, the post would be removed. But it would not be removed for being wrong.

Robert Haymond wrote on September 09, 2014 at 7:09 pm

There's no such current entity as "Palestinians",  David.  It was the name given to Judea (Yehuda) and Samaria (Shomrun) by the Roman conquerers of the Jewish nations in order to destroy their identity.  In fact, the only "Palestinians" which exist are the current Jewish inhabitants of Israel.  Of course, if you do suscribe to Pallywood Productions, as you appear to, David, then your current screed makes a little more sense.  Suggestion:  Do some real research into the subject and stop emulating all those Marxist blowhards with their superficial labelling of "oppression" of any society which meets their fashion-of-the- day.

Skepticity wrote on September 03, 2014 at 2:09 pm

By the persistent posts promoting conspiracy theories and decrying the loss of academic freedom I can only assume that the reason Salaita supporters ignore the tweets is that they support the sentiments, profanity, and violence inherent in the tweets, and basically agree with them.  An alternate view may be that the supporters subscribe to the belief that "The ends justify the means," and thus excuse the tweets' inappropriate content. 

Regardless of which explanation applies to those ignoring Mr. Salaita's lack of professional demeanor, their ongoing support clarifies how much credence I should give their opinions.

dlgreen50 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Salaita expresses his pain and outrage at Israel's murder of innocents. He promotes no violence, racism, or hate. That is all in your head, in defense of the murder of innocents that you rationalize and support, while you also support the ruining of his career. The real blood is on the hands of those who support the U.S. supplying Israel with its instruments of death. -- David Green

Manscape wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

"You may be too refined to say it, but I'm not: I wish all the (expletive) West Bank settlers would go missing." - Mr. Salaita

When he says "missing" (referring to the 3 Israeli teens who were kidnapped and found later murdered by Hamas), I'm sure he thought they just went on a nature hike and decided to drop off the grid. Since he is such a refined "scholar" and "excellent teacher", there was no way he was referring to the murder of the rest of those people. After all, he's a scholar. Much like you.

rsp wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Maybe he was hoping they would move out of the area like all of those agreements in the past. Instead Israel is moving in more people, taking away farm land from farmers. 1,000 acres, more provocation. Ask yourself, which side wants which to go away?

spangwurfelt wrote on September 04, 2014 at 7:09 am

Written in the context of the disappearance of three civilians, it's both clear what he meant and how willing you are to deceive yourself about it. 

dlgreen50 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 4:09 pm

It's clear that he was calling for an end to Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, indeed by peaceful means. -- David Green

Manscape wrote on September 03, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Yea no, nice try.

I find it hilarious you ridicule other people's reading comprehension (referring to rsp) but yet have a hard time comprehending that tweet.

 

spangwurfelt wrote on September 04, 2014 at 7:09 am

Not at all clear and you know it. What did Salaita do to get such a bunch of mendacious bums to support him?

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 04, 2014 at 11:09 am

Uncivil speech, or spur of the moment emotional comment?

spangwurfelt wrote on September 04, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Lots and lots of spurs of lots and lots of moments. It's the pattern of hate-posting that got him.

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 04, 2014 at 1:09 pm

I was referring to you.

rsp wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I personally am amazed at the reading comprehension of people who have college degrees, seeing things that are not there. Slandering someone as wanting to kill. In some cases I don't think they even read any of the tweets, just used a form generator on Facebook. So outraged they don't even know what they are talking about. One woman wrote that "she had never experienced antisemitism but a tweet" scared her. So stay off twitter?

spangwurfelt wrote on September 04, 2014 at 7:09 am

And I am amazed at those like you who have to pretend that Salailta's tweets aren't dripping with raw hate. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 04, 2014 at 11:09 am

Uncivil speech, or spur of the moment emotional comment?

Rocky7 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Agreed!!

Rocky7 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

The humanities departments at UIUC reaching a new low?

That happened a long time ago - circa 1985! Current events regarding Salaita confirm it!

Manscape wrote on September 03, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Yea, no. That's not what was said. Nice try, rsp.

Keep defending his "scholarly" acumen. It's amusing.

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 03, 2014 at 5:09 pm

rsp; your comments have been good.  Ignore the attacks by those who want to equate criticism of Israel with "racism".  They are reacting to the embarrassment of being caught in their slander, and own racism. They feel justified in buying, and bullying the Wise administration.

Manscape wrote on September 03, 2014 at 6:09 pm

No, Sid. rsp comments have not been good. Apparently you need to re-take speech comp alongside  rsp.

But you two must have aced mind-reading 101 since you can tell me with absolute certainty that you know what the above tweet means and I don't. How "elitst" and "establishment" of you. Did they teach you about the word hypocrite in mind-reading 101?

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 04, 2014 at 11:09 am

Uncivil speech, or spur of the moment emotional comment?

spangwurfelt wrote on September 04, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Spam for lunch, SId?

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 04, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Hateful speech, or uncivil speech?  By the way, I have eaten Spam before.  I have no problems with pork.

Rocky7 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 6:09 pm

No my degree is NOT in English and for that I am eternally grateful.

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 04, 2014 at 11:09 am

Given the comments regarding the latest U of I scandal, it is easy to see how twitter comments can be interpreted by those who are pro-Israel, and those who are anti-Israel.  This latest scandal is not about twitter comments though.  It is about wealthy donors flexing their financial muscle in the administration of a public university.  Those who are pro-Israel want the issue to be about twitter comments; but it is not.

The professor was not to be teaching required courses.  Students who felt uncomfortable with him did not have to take his classes.  The conspiracy of wealthy, pro-Israel donors won the day by financially blackmailing the U of I administration (Wise), and the BOT.  If the threat of ceasing donations worked, bribes cannot be ruled out in the future.

Skepticity wrote on September 04, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I am not a wealthy donor.  I am not pro-Israeli.  I am not pro-Hamas.  I find the situation in Gaza to be horrible. 

I have no side in the conflict in Gaza other than there obviously cannot be peace when one side is dedicated to the eradication of the other.  Decades and perhaps centuries of conflict and injustice from all sides sowed the seeds of the current conflict. 

But with regard to the job offer that was rescinded, I firmly believe that a number of the public statements in tweets I read were inappropriate for someone pending appointment to the position of a tenured professor.  It is unfortunate, as many other of the tweets were appropriate arguments for Mr. Salaita's position. 

However, the vitriol and advocacy of drastic measures in some of the other tweets by Mr. Salaita shows a lack of judgment that demonstrates unsuitability for a position as a tenured professor.   

This has nothing to do with donors, who have nothing to do with me or my position on the hiring issue. 

I am confounded that educated people continue to focus on alleged conspiracies and ignore a clear cause for withdrawing the job offer. 

As I have noted elsewhere, UI needs to clean up hiring practices so that confirmation is obtained before someone resigns and prepares to move to begin teaching.

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 04, 2014 at 2:09 pm

It was acknowledged that Wise met with a wealthy donor who wanted the professor fired.  It was acknowledged that a large group of donors urged the firing of the professor.  It was acknowledged that donations would cease if the professor taught on campus.  These are hardly "alleged conspiracies".  The result has been the denouncement of the U of I by academics world wide.  The greater harm is wealthy donors intervening in a public university's administration.

Skepticity wrote on September 04, 2014 at 3:09 pm

They are precisely "alleged conspiracies."

Neither you nor I know what transpired in the meeting and to what extent the meeting and other communication influenced Dr. Wise's decision. We have information indicating that the meeting and correspondence took place.  Undoubtedly she also received communication from Mr. Salaitas's supporters. 

I can totally understand how people reading the tweets, wealthy donors or not, could arrive at the conclusion that Mr. Salaitas should not be hired, and that if he were hired, why they might reconsider their opinion on the worthiness of the U of I to continue receiving support of any kind.  As pointed out elsewhere, many in opposition to Mr. Salaitas appointment were not wealthy donors, just people who found the tweets inappropriate. 

Were some of those in opposition to Mr. Salaitas Zionists trying to influence the outcome?  Quite possibly, but there is no evidence that this is why Dr. Wise made the decision. 

That belief in a conspiracy is a jump that apparently is easily made by those who have preconceptions of Zionist conspiracies everywhere.  I am not one who will make that assumption every time an argument arises about this topic.  

I am not a donor nor influenced by a donor, yet I arrived at the belief that the decision was correct based on the content of some of the tweets; content that clearly indicated to me that Mr. Salaitas was not worthy of appointment to a position as a tenured professor.  Tenured professors should not advocate violence in profanity filled tweets.  They should frame arguments carefully and maintain civility.  Yes, I believe that the post about going missing was in context with the kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli youths. 

It is quite conceivable to me that Dr. Wise arrived at her decision the same way I did: based on Mr. Salaita's public posting of views that were inconsistent with the professionalism expected of a man seeking a professorship.  If a supporter of Israel awaiting appointment to a professorship made public statements filled with profanity and advocating killing Palestinians, I would support not appointing that candidate, too. 

The anti-Zionist conspiracy commentators apparently are too enmeshed in their beliefs to step back and view the tweets objectively in the perspective of evaluating suitability for appointment to a tenured professorship.

thinks wrote on September 06, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I agree with everything Skepticity has said here. Recent revelations of Dr. Salaita's Goodreads reviews only reinforce his lack of professionalism as a scholar and judgment as a professional. I'm very disappointed in him as a candidate for a tenured faculty position in the humanities at this university. I would personally not want to work alongside someone who is so imbalanced and vitriolic, nor would I trust him to treat students of differing views fairly.

That said, the issues with how this was handled by the adminstration and the timeline for the hiring process do need to be addressed. Faculty should have been consulted prior to the offer being denied upper administrative approval (and it was an offer not only of a position, but of tenure, which is somewhat regularly denied by upper level administration for internal candidates for promotion and tenure -- it's not unheard of at any institution). Also, offers should be approved before faculty resign positions elsewhere and begin the new school year here. Chancellor Wise has suggested that both of these are reasonable requests for changed practice in the future. Let's hope these are effected.

Moreover, the university should further clarify the limits of academic freedom and collegial and professorial civility. As many concerned commentators have pointed out, this can be a slipper slope, in which administrative adjudication of such standards can be used to cover for personal and political animus. Moreover, I would like to see these protections extended regularly and explicitly to academic professionals, contingent faculty, and graduate students, who should also have a right to their range of beliefs, views, and expressions within the university community and are at risk for being denied them because of differential power relations, quite a bit greater than any suffered by tenure-stream faculty.

Skepticity wrote on September 06, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I appreciate the additional suggestions included in your comment.  The flaws in the process of hiring and the issue of the boundaries of academic freedom and free speech vs. professional responsibility to disagree in appropriate ways need to be addressed. As you pointed out, clarity is needed to avoid the political use of such policies. 

You are correct to point out that the administration should have consulted with or at list kept faculty informed of concerns about Mr. Salaita's statements and possible decisions about Mr. Salaita's position. 

As usual, a thoughtful post.

Robert Haymond wrote on September 09, 2014 at 8:09 pm

The wealthy donors, those who have taken over all Mideastern studies, are the governments and wealthy individuals from Saudi Arabia, Quatar and the rest of the oil money Islamic nations.  They represent an entirely subversive element in the once-great universities of the West.  Demonizing Israel, and Jews (ever so subtly), is just one element of their influence, one to which you so "morally" suscribe.