Salaita supporters urge day of silence, classroom walkout

Salaita supporters urge day of silence, classroom walkout

CHAMPAIGN — Supporters of Steven Salaita have organized a "National Day of Silence" on Tuesday, including a classroom walk-out, to protest the University of Illinois' "un-hiring" of the American Indian Studies professor.

Organizers posted information on Facebook asking students to join in silent protest "of this attack on students' academic freedom and free speech."

Participants are encouraged to stage a "civil" walk-out from their classes and gather on the UI Quad from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday.

They're asked to cover their mouths with a sideways Illini "I" with one of the following hashtags on it: #ReinstateSalaita, #Salaita, #UIStudents4Salaita, #BoycottUIUC or #RestoreAcademicFreedom.

They can pick up a pre-made "I" on the Quad or use materials there to make their own.

The main Facebook page supporting Salaita has a profile photo with a picture of the Alma Mater with a sideways Block I covering her mouth.

Nationwide, participants are asked to show solidarity by covering with mouths with a sideways "I" and posting photos on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Weigh in with a Letter to the Editor here

Where does this rank among University of Illinois controversies? Tell Tom Kacich here

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Rocky7 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 4:09 pm

MEMO TO DEMONSTRATORS Regarding dress code for participattion.

1) Men - be sure to shave and take a bath or shower on morning of demonstrtion day and be sure to wear a coat-and-tie and dress slacks and dress shirt. A hair cut might be a good idea too.


2). Ladies, be sure to take a bath or shower on morning of demonstration day, put on light make-up, and wear a blouse or sweater and a skirt. Keep your hair-do kempt.

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

In other words; look like the establishment of the "secret" donors.  Forget that you are students.  Pretend that you are interviewing for a job which you may not get based on your facebook, or twitter comments objecting to Israel's war crimes.

Rocky7 wrote on September 03, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Sid Salfork,

Being dressed that way is how one gets ahead in the real world, and also academe.

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 04, 2014 at 10:09 am

Really?  Suit, and tie students sounds like you went to Bob Jones University, or Oral Robert's U.

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

Look at me!  Look at me!!!

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

Handy excuse to skip class while feeling all noble-like, isn't it.

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 04, 2014 at 10:09 am

And you never stood up for anything during your student days?

mommy wrote on September 03, 2014 at 8:09 pm

How about this?  Get to class and get your monies worth.

FungibleChairs wrote on September 03, 2014 at 9:09 pm

I am heartened by the many scholars that have provided thoughtful analysis on the Salaita issue.

To Chancellor Wise from Jan Goldstein, President of the American Historical Association.

And another letter to Chancellor Wise dated Sept. 2, 2014 from Katherine M. Franke, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University



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

Thanks for the links. 

However, don't you think it would have been more effective communication for the authors to have shown the depth of emotions they feel regarding the withdrawal of Mr. Salaita's hiring offer by throwing a few "f-words" into their letters, and stating that they wish that certain university administrators would disappear?

Or would that have been inappropriate for scholars of their stature?

Skepticity wrote on September 03, 2014 at 11:09 pm

I understand why the protesters used the photo on Facebook.  It is dramatic, and the theme of the protest is dramatically represented by the image. 

I don't understand why the News-Gazette copied it from Facebook for the article. I don't understand why the NG provided a link to information about this protest. 

It is as though some NG staff want to enable he protesters and add fuel to the fire so more articles can be written.

Or maybe the NG is just being played by media savvy professorial professional protesters. 


Regardless, I am sure that students will welcome the opportunity to miss class for a misrepresented cause.  It is always useful to engage youth in dramatic endeavors of this kind.  Catch them early so you can use them later. 

Mike wrote on September 03, 2014 at 11:09 pm

I think they should offer free beer. That might increase the chances of higher numbers. "Don't just skip class---come drink beer too!" 

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

It is unfortunate that students get attacked verbally now for standing up on an issue.  The same comments happened during the anti-war demonstrations of the '60's, and '70's.  They were spouted during the feminist demonstrations.  They were spouted during the Civil Rights era.  The comments about dirty hair, clothing, and personal appearance are always thrown at students demonstrating. 

For those verbally attacking the students; send your kids to Oral Roberts, or Bob Jones universities if you want them to be "clean cut", and "in order".

Skepticity wrote on September 04, 2014 at 7:09 pm

If you are referring to my comment, you misunderstand, perhaps due to your own strong beliefs not allowing ideas contrary to yours to be given consideration. 

My criticism was not of the students, but of the cynical manipulators who use them as pawns in political games.  Students would often prefer to be engaged in joining a dramatic cause to bring justice than to sit in class and take notes. Quite understandable... been there, done that. 

I marched in the '70s and sometimes it was for justifiable cause, though it was probably more detrimental to me than helpful in bringing about change.  Upon reflection I became aware of how the organizers and activists manipulated the public (particularly young adults) through misinformation and propaganda. 

College students tend to be idealistic and want to right any wrong they encounter.  Organizers frame issues in such a way as to engage them and use their energy to create media events and drama.  If you limit and shape information and provide false or distorted information that outrages young adults, you can get them out protesting.  Add a few individuals to the crowd with scripts to inflame emotions, and you can really get things cooking. 

The narrative that you continue to voice about Zionists silencing the free speech of a wronged professor by firing him is part of the manipulation.  The imagery and narrative of the protest is skillfully designed.

The content of Mr. Salaita's tweets and their incompatibility with a tenured position at U of I is disregarded and the story of supposed injustice is sold to build a base to oppose the decision. This also activates students with regard to the mess in Gaza, and influences them toward the Palestinian view of these events. 

It is manipulation, and has been used successfully many times in the past to bring people to the streets and obstruct normal daily life.  I hate to see University of Illinois professors engage in it using their students. 

It is out and out cynical manipulation of others, and I loath it, and the activists who engage in it.