UI precluded any honest debate

UI precluded any honest debate

We are writing to respond to the recent opinion piece by Nicholas Burbules and Joyce Tolliver ("Salaita Case Calls for Honest Debate"). We agree with these colleagues that the case calls for dialogue, but note that this very possibility was foreclosed when the chancellor rescinded Dr. Steven Salaita's job offer without any apparent faculty consultation.

The University of Illinois has strict protocols for tenured faculty hires that govern every step from the appointment of a committee of qualified faculty to the extensive review of scholarship and teaching. The tenure process involves consultation with outside experts and a series of votes at department, college and provost levels. Having emerged from this rigorous process as the most qualified candidate, Salaita was offered a tenured professorship in American Indian Studies in October 2013.

Had this process taken its course, he would have begun work on Aug. 16, several weeks before the formal approval of the UI Board of Trustees at their September meeting. Salaita resigned his previous position, rented a house in Champaign, and prepared to join a faculty that had had over a year to scrutinize his credentials. The withdrawal of the offer just days before the expected start date was made without the knowledge of the department leaders and deans most familiar with the details of the case.

Burbules and Tolliver assure us that this wholly unprecedented decision had nothing to do with Salaita's stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict since the "real issue" concerns "numerous public statements over the summer" that "in the view of many people" are "incendiary and anti-Semitic." Their reference is to a small number of tweets that were first publicized and described as anti-Semitic on a pro-Israeli, conservative blog.

The following day The News-Gazette reported that an incoming UI professor "has drawn the ire of a conservative website after posting angry commentary on Twitter about Israel's ground invasion of the Gaza Strip." Neither the blog nor The News-Gazette noted that the cited tweets were part of a train of discussion in which Salaita wrote that his criticism of Israel consisted in a "principled stand against state violence" and that he was "fundamentally" committed to "acknowledging and countering the horror of antisemitism."

In tweets from the same period, he "refuse(d) to conceptualize Israel/Palestine as Jewish-Arab acrimony," declared his "solidarity with many Jews," and wrote, "It's a beautiful thing to see our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world deploring Israel's brutality in Gaza."

As such messages indicate, Salaita's criticisms of Israel are not anti-Semitic. These are strident remarks on a topic that draws heated political debate. Their misrepresentation on various blogs was the result of a deliberate campaign to create controversy over the hire of a scholar who is an outspoken critic of the Israeli government.

According to Burbules and Tolliver, however, Salaita's comments on social media as a private citizen "preclude any possibility of dialogue, disagreement or reasoned examination." Yet, anyone familiar with the actual stream of tweets would recognize that they created dialogue. Salaita's record of highly reputed research and excellent teaching is not and has never been in dispute. It is, rather, the decision to rescind Salaita's offer in this arbitrary manner which has precluded debate.

But the decision has done much more than that. It has also severely damaged the reputation of the University of Illinois which now appears intolerant of political speech as well as indifferent to its own principles of due process, shared governance and academic freedom. Unsurprisingly, thousands of distinguished scholars from all over the world and venerable professional organizations such as the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Modern Language Association have written to the chancellor in protest; many have promised to boycott the university until the decision is reversed.

The issuing of public statements from the chancellor, president and UI Board of Trustees last Friday confirms our fears that these officials are determined to ignore the mounting criticism that their decision has provoked. The emails offer the illogical position that the only way to foster "diverging opinions" and "robust debate" is to silence dissent through top-down management. They ask us to believe that a single faculty member whose teaching and research qualified him for a tenured position just a few weeks ago has now become a threat to the "traditions of scholarship and civility upon which our university is built."

A transparent account of how this conclusion was reached and which faculty, if any, were consulted is apparently no longer part of how shared governance is practiced on our campus.

We call upon all members of the UI community and concerned Illinois citizens to join us in urging Chancellor Wise, President Easter and Chair of the Board of Trustees Christopher Kennedy to reinstate the offer to Professor Salaita. Decisions of such weight require diligent consultation with the relevant faculty experts, open dialogue, transparent procedures and adherence to established protocols.

The university has time-tested practices for handling concerns from the public which can be followed in this case like any other. We must reject administrative irregularities and secretive decision-making in favor of preserving our commitment to academic excellence, shared governance, freedom of speech and procedural rectitude. The integrity and reputation of the University of Illinois are at stake.

James R. Barrett, Professor of History and African American Studies

Robert W. Barrett, Jr., Associate Professor of English, Medieval Studies, and Theatre

Asef Bayat, Catherine and Bruce Bastian Professor of Global & Transnational Studies and Professor of Sociology and Middle East Studies

Nancy Blake, Professor of Comparative and World Literature

Antoinette Burton, Catherine and Bruce Bastian Professor of Global & Transnational Studies and Professor of History

Jodi Byrd, Associate Professor of American Indian Studies and English

J.B. Capino, Associate Professor of English and Media & Cinema Studies

C.L. Cole, Professor and Head of Media & Cinema Studies

Eleanor Courtemanche, Associate Professor of English

Clare Crowston, Professor of History

Jerry Da´vila, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazilian History

L. Elena Delgado, Associate Professor of Spanish, Criticism &Interpretive Theory, Gender and Women's Studies

Vicente Diaz, Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies (Co-Chair of Salaita Search Committee)

Hadi Esfahani, Professor of Economics

Walter Feinberg, Charles Hardie Professor, Emeritus, of Educational Philosophy

Stephanie Foote, Professor and Chair of Gender & Women's Studies

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Associate Professor of History and Sociology

Zsuzsa Gille, Associate Professor of Sociology

Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Professor of English, Criticism & Interpretive Theory

Kevin Hamilton, Associate Professor of Art & Design

James A. Hansen, Associate Professor of English

Dianne Harris, Director, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities and Professor of Landscape Architecture

Valerie Hoffman, Director, Center for South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of Religion

Kristin Hoganson, Professor of History

Frederick E. Hoxie, Swanlund Professor of History, Law and American Indian Studies

Laurie Johnson, Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures

Lilya Kaganovsky, Associate Professor of Slavic, Comparative Literature, and Media Studies and Director, Program in Comparative and World Literature

Stephen Kaufman, Professor, Emeritus, of Cell and Developmental Biology

Marcus Keller, Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature

Diane P. Koenker, Professor and Chair of History

Susan Koshy, Director, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies

Bruce Levine, J.G. Randall Distinguished Professor of History and Professor of African American Studies

Erik McDuffie, Associate Professor of African American Studies and History

Martin F. Manalansan IV, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies

Faranak Miraftab, Professor of Urban & Regional Planning

Isabel Molina-Guzman, Associate Professor of Media & Cinema Studies

Ellen Moodie, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Jennifer Monson, Professor of Dance

Justine S. Murison, Associate Professor of English

Chantal Nadeau, Professor of Gender & Women's Studies

Hina Nazar, Associate Professor of English

Carl Niekerk, Professor, Germanic Languages and Literatures

Fiona I. B. Ngo, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and Gender & Women's Studies

Mimi Thi Nguyen, Associate Professor of Gender & Women's Studies and Asian American Studies

Kathryn Oberdeck, Associate Professor of History

Robert Dale Parker, James M. Benson Professor of English

Curtis Perry, Professor of English and Classics

Junaid Rana, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Asian American Studies

Jesse Ribot, Professor of Geography and Director of Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy Initiative

Jay Rosenstein, Center for Advanced Study Professor of Journalism

Bruce Rosenstock, Associate Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies

Emanuel Rota, Associate Professor of Italian

Michael Rothberg, Professor and Head of English/Director of Holocaust, Genocide & Memory Studies Initiative

Gabriel Solis, Associate Professor of Music and African American Studies

Siobhan Somerville, Associate Professor of English and Gender & Women's Studies

Anna Stenport, Director of the European Union Center, Associate Professor of Scandinavian Studies and German Languages and Literatures

Eleonora Stoppino, Associate Professor of Italian

William Sullivan, Professor of Landscape Architecture

Renee R. Trilling, Conrad Humanities Professorial Scholar of English and Medieval Studies

Ted Underwood, Professor and LAS Centennial Scholar of English

Robert Warrior, Professor and Director of American Indian Studies

Deke Weaver, Associate Professor of Art & Design

Gillen Wood, Director of Sustainability Studies Initiative and Professor of English

Yasemin Yildiz, Associate Professor of German

Comments

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steve.dunn wrote on August 26, 2014 at 8:08 am

It is outrageously hypocritical for the Chancellor to defend her heavy-handed intolerant actions by claiming that she is defending tolerance!

A Studentin wrote on August 26, 2014 at 10:08 am

Who ARE these children?

Whining, sniveling, tantrumming all over the house.  Lashing out because they feel powerless (because, maybe, they ARE powerless?) in an attempt, a very simple childish attempt, to GET THEIR OWN WAY; to be HEARD.   

They are mad, confused, seeking boundaries … but until they are able to regain their composure, maybe not until the supply of adrenaline they’re running on is exhausted and they finally tire, will they be able to see that … it’s going to be ok:  so THAT is where the boundary lies!; so I DON’T have to keep pounding my head against that brick wall!; so my Mommy and Daddy DO love me, and want the best for me, and … even though I hate to admit it, they DO maybe know best.  About certain things.  NOT everything though.  Not everything.  I know things.  Important things.  Better than them, sometimes.

They’re not really powerless, of course.  Just like the child in the checkout lane who wants that piece of candy, and who can’t recognize that Mommy simply doesn’t have enough money in her purse, (it was all she could do to scrape together enough cash for that milk and bread, and those eggs, and that package of 65% lean ground meat, and those bread crumbs – thank Allah for those free ketchup packs from the fast food place – so now she can make an actual meat loaf to provide her children some reasonable sustenance), the child has absolute power to (a) let everyone within earshot – all those within the grocery store, plus those outside in the parking lot – know that HE IS NOT HAPPY; and (b) ruin the moment of those closest, through the volume and pitch and incessancy of the wailing.  If I can’t be happy, then YOU – sorry, pathetic woman behind us in the checkout line picking up your bottle of gin and your tampons and your sour cream and onion potato chips – are not going to be happy EITHER.  See how powerful I am?  Hear how powerful my voice is?

Perhaps it is similar with those poor, weak, persecuted children in Gaza.  Perhaps those missiles (rockets? firecrackers-on-sticks?) are simply the lashing out of the powerless against the parent-like power of those who provide medicine, food, a place to be.  (Not a NICE place.  I’m sorry, son, this small crappy apartment is all I can afford – maybe some day we will have a place like J.R. Ewing had.  I’d REALLY LIKE that; I’d REALLY LIKE to give that kind of an existence to you.  But it’s all I can do right now to give you some low-grade meat loaf and maybe some Children’s Tylenol when you spike a fever.) 

So go ahead, children.  Cry out loudly when you can’t have that piece of candy.  Light that firework and aim it squarely at the person nearest you; the easiest one to blame; the most accessible target.  Tweet the vilest invectives.  I HATE you, Mommy!  Death to Little Satan! 

Okay, so here’s one little problem with this whole Hamas/Israel, Salaita/University, Dey/troll army, town/gown, grownup/child micro-drama:

Those aren’t really fireworks.  They are deadly, exploding, death-bringing missiles aimed purposefully at civilians to elicit a response.  And those aren’t really the words of one seemingly capable of acting as the adult in a classroom; a leader of thought; a molder or shaper or opener of younger minds. 

Either the leaders of Hamas who order or allow the ongoing attacks against a sovereign neighbor are CHILDISH, or they are EVIL.  Either the writer of the words tweeted under the name Steven Salaita; and the writer of those words signed off on by the Gang of 64 are CHILDISH or they are COMPLETE IDIOTS.  (Duly noted:  lame ad hominem “logic,” employed as a device to make a point.  Two and more can play such games.)  A civil discourse about the grave situation in Palestine simply has no room for such emotion-fueled drivel.  My suggestion?  Grow the hell up.  Choose to exercise your (globally-recognized?) freedom of speech maturely, or immaturely.  It is a choice that all of us are allowed to make.  Notice, though, how certain people in our world seem to attain positions of relative comfort and prestige and even power by the mature governance of how they choose to express their views.  Responding to the kidnapping and killing of three innocent Israelis by stating the view that “You may be too refined to say it, but I'm not: I wish all the (expletive) West Bank settlers would go missing” does not, to just about anyone, demonstrate mature self-governance.  Such public commentary, be it called something as harmless as a “tweet” or not, is not merely unrefined.  It’s childish, and it’s pathetic. 

rsp wrote on August 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm

It was an inappropriate tweet but the intent was not to suggest that he wished everyone there dead. How many agreements with Israel over that land required the people to leave and instead more move in. There are food and water shortages in Gaza, they have been blockaded without needed supplies and children are being killed. The Israelis have a missile defense system. The people of Gaza have flyers dropped on their rooftops telling them to get out. Do you have family or friends in Gaza? Maybe you would feel different if you knew people there. Or read how the Israelis referred to the children there.

A Studentin wrote on August 26, 2014 at 2:08 pm

1: It was an inappropriate tweet but the intent was not to suggest that he wished everyone there dead: 

A: Steven?  I apologize, but I am unable to divine the intent of the message in the one tweet I cited, be it on its own or in the context of the entire trail of tweets on the subject, other than to consider the words themselves.  The words themselves seem to me to stand on their own with crispness and clarity.     

2: How many agreements with Israel over that land required the people to leave and instead more move in.

A:  Almost too many agreements to count.  In modern times I believe it goes back as far as the immediate aftermath of WWI, but there have been over a dozen as recently as 1991's Madrid Conference, and continuing through the Taba Summit of 2001, the Elon Plan of 2002, Bush's Roadmap for Peace and the Geneva Accord of 2003, the Sharm El Sheikh Summit of 2005, the Chirac-Zapatero plan of 2006, etc., etc., ad infinitum.  With innumerable cease fires along the way.  Has the number of both Israeli and Palestinian inhabitants of the disputed areas continued to grow?  Of course.  Has Israel bulldozed property belonging to both Jews and Arabs?  Sadly, yes.  Have both sides acted aggressively at times?  We all know that they have. If it were only as simple as one side being clearly, demonstrably, "worser" then public opinion, and governmental action, would be able to settle the matter with some finality.  Sadly that is not the case. 

3A:  There are food and water shortages in Gaza, they have been blockaded without needed supplies and 3B:  children are being killed.

A3a:  Yes and yes.  I refer you though, importantly, to the actions taken by many people from many nations, to funnel food, water, fuel, and medical supplies through Israel into Gaza.  Of particular note, read up on the 2008 ceasefire.  One way of reading the agreement was that Hamas would only fire 2% of the "normal" amount of rockets each day into Israel, if Israel increases the flow of goods into Gaza by 30% of "normal" rates.  After the first few days, Israel "broke" the agreement in that the flow was only 20% more than normal. 

A3b:  And it is beyond despicable for both sides to allow/encourage/effect this tragedy.

4:  The Israelis have a missile defense system.

A:  I'm not sure how this is relevant.  I have an umbrella on my patio - which protects me from rain when dining al fresco.  I would not expect a neighbor to be upset by this, or to direct their sprinkler or a hose onto my patio because of my umbrella.

5:  The people of Gaza have flyers dropped on their rooftops telling them to get out.

A:  I understand.  And I cannot divine Israel's motivation for this ... could be intimidation; could be "fair warning"; could be both; could be neither.  Either way, I find it interesting and my suspicion is that it's primary motivation is propagandistic.

6: Do you have family or friends in Gaza?

A:  Yes, both.  There are many who I know and quite a few who I love dearly up and down the entire coast of the Levant.  You?

7:  Maybe you would feel different if you knew people there.

A:  Knowing, and loving, people "stuck" in Gaza (many actually choose to remain there) does not make me feel any differently about the childish behaviors exhibited by anyone, be they academics or not.

8:  Or read how the Israelis referred to the children there.

A:  Actually, I have not yet read anywhere of the words used by any Israelis when referring to any children.  I HAVE heard, with my own ears, many things that, I suspect, are relevant to the point you are trying to make.  I have heard SOME (not all) Palestinians refer to Jews with ... interesting word choices.  Likewise I have heard SOME (not all) Jews refer to Palestinians and others with ... words I would never use.  Earlier this year, while in the U.S. state of Georgia, I overheard in two different restaurants HORRIBLE things said by certain white people about certain black people (no, I believe the person speaking directed his remarks toward ALL black people), and I heard disgusting things said by certain black people about certain white people.  Do I judge all Georgians to be hopelessly racist?  No.  And I have ample experience with many wonderful Georgians from many different racial and ethnic backgrounds, many in positions of some prominence in business and academia, who would never speak in such a manner.  Personally, I would not support any group's effort to firebomb the predominantly black towns between Atlanta and Augusta; nor would I support any group's effort to lob explosives into the trailer parks across the river from Augusta in South Carolina.  Regardless of how any group of ... idiots ... in such a trailer park referred to black children. You infer having read about distasteful attitudes held by the State of Israel as revealed in the words used by some Israelis to describe the children of Gaza.  I humbly suggest that you expand your reading on the subject to more than one "side's" (potentially propagandistic) viewpoints.  In addition, I would suggest that it's a bad idea to project onto an entire people the negative attributes of their group's leadership; or to project onto any government the negative attributes of individual, possibly misguided or even misanthropic, members. 

rsp wrote on August 27, 2014 at 1:08 am

The missle defense system is relevent because the missles Hamas fires are mostly shot down. Compare that to the hundreds of children killed on the other side, or wounded or left homeless. I don't know anyone on either side. The language used to refer to children follows the same pattern that was used in Germany, that they are vermin to be exterminated. You would hope people would think before writing such things but they don't because it allows them to kill children who have done nothing wrong. These are individuals who feel this way, because this is something they have lived with all their lives. It's a path they're on and it's unending.

When I heard about these tweets in the first article I looked up his twitter account and read back through them, and also what was happening at the time they were sent. I also listened to an interview he gave and read some other things he wrote. I don't think it's fair to take something out of context. I've found no evidence that this man has any beliefs that are anti-semitic but in fact just the opposite.

If the jewish settlers are seen as a provocation, wishing that provocation would go away does not equal that you wish them dead. It could just as easily mean wishing that Israel for once would live up to it's agreements and the jewish settlers would move out.

spangwurfelt wrote on August 28, 2014 at 7:08 am

"If the jewish settlers are seen as a provocation, wishing that provocation would go away does not equal that you wish them dead."

He didn't say he wanted them to move out. He said he wanted them to just disappear.

Here's the actual tweet: "You may be too refined to say it, but I'm not: I wish all the f---ing West Bank settlers would go missing."

Ick.

Your whitewashed version makes no sense: "You may be too refined to say it, but I'm not: I wish all the f---ing West Bank settlers would leave."

One of the most frustrating aspects of this whole thing is how consistently Salaita's supporters whitewash what he actually said, so as to make him a martyr figure.

sgdavis wrote on August 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for the well-thought out and well-argued commentary.  It is clear and reasoned.  Unfortunately, the Chancellor and Board of Trustees are arguing backward from the result they desired \ -- to make a controversial faculty member go away --, rather than clearly explaining why they made such a big mistake.

A Studentin wrote on August 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

I cannot imagine that the Chancellor and Board of Trustees desired to either "hire" and almost immediately "fire," or to extend a contingent offer and then quickly rescind a contingent offer, to anyone.  And let's be clear, this did not involve a controversial faculty member. The person who embroiled himself in the controversy was not a member of the faculty at Illinois, but only a prospective member.

I'm not a big fan of circular reasoning, and you give a great example here of the fallacy of petitio principii ...  that being said, if all could agree for the sake of discussion that "such a big mistake" HAS been made, who do you believe is owed an explanation?  I would suggest that Mr. Salaita, of course, would be owed an explanation, with any correspondence related thereto being of a private nature and up to him or the university to share only if they chose - such choice being, in my opinion, grossly inconsiderate of the other party.  Additionally, the search committee, or at least the chairperson of that committee, would also warrant the respect of an explanation, however I would be surprised if the decision to rescind the offer/not forward the appointment to the Board was made without at least the awareness of the search chair.

As I've followed this story in the news, it has occurred to me that the mistake was made in not determining, as conclusively as possible and following a basic standard of diligence which one would expect to be applied to the hire of so important a position, that Mr. Salaita had the academic credentials, the maturity, and the work ethic that would be expected of a member of the University of Illinois' faculty. 

Assuming that the vetting WAS as in depth as it should have been, and that Mr. Salaita passed muster on all three points and any others contained in the search committee's charge, then the offer letter SHOULD have been sent to him. 

After then finding that the maturity and perhaps even the judgment of Mr. Salaita were so questionable as to reduce his stature to being somewhat less than that expected of the university's faculty, what would be the correct next step?  Give him a pass anyway?  Or put him in limbo while a kangaroo court was called into session (similar to that which is ongoing in the media now) and rendered its oh-so-apolitical decision? 

I suspect that the conclusion was quickly reached that a serious mistake was made (by the search committee prior to the decision to extend an offer; or by Mr. Salaita after the offer was received) and, once discovered - following the likely "oh, expletive" moment - the obvious decision that Salaita wouldn't be joining the Illinois faculty was communicated to him as soon as possible, simply out of courtesy.  It matters not that he is pro-anything or anti-anything.  A similarly puerile twitter rant calling for death to perky cheerleaders, or excommunication from polite society for people taller than six foot four, would have been sufficient to tag Salaita as being beneath the lowest bar for admission to so noteworthy a faculty.

Personally, I don't believe I am owed any explanation - clear, or murky, or whatever. 

rsp wrote on August 27, 2014 at 12:08 am

Not only was he sent an offer but he signed it and returned it.

A Studentin wrote on August 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Not only was he sent a CONTINGENT offer but he signed it (indicating, presumably, that he understood its terms and conditions) and returned it.  

So?

kagni wrote on August 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

This letter tries to present expletives etc as expressing views of Mr Salaita.  The letter complains about objections to Mr Salaita as lack of tolerance of his views:

"Their reference is to a small number of tweets that were first publicized and described as anti-Semitic on a pro-Israeli, conservative blog." 

Mr Salaita's tweets are are not "views", they are name calling and curses, and he is not cursing just Israel:  "(expletive), #Israel. And while I'm at it, (expletive),  too, PA, Sisi, Arab monarchs, Obama, UK, EU, Canada, US Senate, corporate media, and ISIS."   

It is not discourse-like, respectful or tolerant.  Tweets or not, words either are in your vocabulary, or they are not. 

The letter lies by omission to make its point.  

jwr12 wrote on August 27, 2014 at 9:08 am

Kagni: First of all, the quote you chose shows that Salaita is mad at many parties, not just Israel.  So while he is undoubtedly fiercely critical of the Israeli state, to pull only those statements out, while leaving others uncited, is deeply dishonest of his critics.

Your critique, in the end, seems to focus solely on the 'F' word. Yeah, he used it. Have you read Twitter lately? Everyone uses it.  You may not like it.  But you don't get to decide what is 'discourse-like' on Twitter. Nor should scholars have to stay off of Twitter -- which, after all, is a hugely important medium -- because the language used there isn't the language of church.  People bemoan scholars for staying in the Ivory Tower; here's one that's working in the street, and he gets dinged for using street language.

Insisting on arbitrary rules of "civility" without respect for context or genre will do nothing for the students or the researchers of the U of I.  It may make trustees feel better, but this institution of tens of thousands of people (students and workers) doesn't exist for them.

Fretboy wrote on August 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Though, oddly enough in a bureaucracy-laden, overly processed-oriented institution, all hiring decisions go through the Board of Trustees. Why is the Board there, if not for one last, review by a group that is fiscally responsible for the entire operations of the institution. If this was the real world, the arguement might be that the Board of Directors doesn't REALLY run the organization. Department heads do. The President/Chancellor should bend to the will of the employees.

itazurakko wrote on August 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm

If the Board of Trustees wishes to be a non rubber-stamp part of the hiring process, then they need to do their approval (or rejection) before the new hire is expected to already be on campus and working.  They need to get their act together and have these approvals done far earlier in the summer.  

The interesting part of all this is how it has exposed the fact that the hiring process is not supposedly "finished" until after people are supposed to already be working, and how it prompted the Chancellor to issue a statement that it's not okay to disparage or disrespect viewpoints (not just people, but viewpoints).

The Chancellor's statement in particular has people pointing fingers, IMHO for good reason, completely apart from her decision in the Salaita affair in particular. The general impression outside of the CU local media is that she only dug the hole deeper with that statement.

wayward wrote on August 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I wondered why the chancellor didn't just forward Salaita's appointment to the board and let them be the ones to say no.  Perhaps it was the timing -- it would have been even more awkward for them to vote against his appointment after he'd started working here.

SaintClarence27 wrote on August 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Since when does the chancellor need to consult "the faculty" prior to making hiring decisions?

Rocky7 wrote on August 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm

At her discretion.  Check the job description.

SaintClarence27 wrote on August 29, 2014 at 8:08 am

Which tells me that she didn't have to consult the faculty at all.

rsp wrote on August 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm

You might instead ask when does she need to consult with a donor before hiring the only Palestinian to teach at the school. Because this had nothing to do with his writing on twitter. Anyone who says it does is lying. The emails are coming out from the Jewish lobby and the donor. This was about money. He could have been silent on twitter and they would have still done this.

wayward wrote on August 27, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Honestly, if he'd been silent on Twitter or maybe just posted a lot of cat pictures, few people would have paid enough attention to him to even be aware of his nationality. How many commenters in this thread can name any new UI faculty member starting his fall off the top of your head? I can't.

spangwurfelt wrote on August 28, 2014 at 7:08 am

"The emails are coming out from the Jewish lobby"

*rolls eyes*

SaintClarence27 wrote on August 29, 2014 at 8:08 am

Exactly. Anyone who uses that phrase is, er, problematic at best.

A Studentin wrote on August 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Really?  The only Palestinian to teach at the school?  Things have changed much since I was at UIUC.  Of course, it may depend upon how you choose to define Palestinian.  How DO you define it?

Your comment carries more than a hint of BS stench.  Makes one wonder if ALL of (Steven's) published work shouldn't be reviewed for accuracy.  For some reason I can suddenly imagine the smell of made up quotes and citations in his work.  

On a separate note, I am certainly not lying when I say that if the matter of the Chancellor's decision really did not have anything to do with the unconscionably juvenile and twisted tweets, it SHOULD have.  (That's just my view, to which I believe I am entitled, and which you'll note I've managed to express without descending to the profane or violent.) 

Rocky7 wrote on August 30, 2014 at 10:08 pm

On that last point, isn't it bit curious that all the defenders of Dr. Salaita hae overlooked the fact that his tweets could be consrtrued as "Hate-Speech." To the best of my knowledge, hate-speech is considered uacceptable comunication at Tier I Research Universities, Including UIUC.

That policy about "Hate-Speech" trumps 'academic freedom' and 'freedom of speech' because it is abhorent behavior unworthy of a UIUC professor (probably true at Virginia Tech too).