Salaita Academic Freedom Speaking Tour Heading To Chicago!


Professor Steven Salaita, who had been appointed as an associate professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is planning a five-day speaking tour in Chicago not only to seek a reversal of the sudden cancellation of his appointment, but also to defend other critical-thinking academicians who dare challenge the ideological preferences of chancellors, presidents, and governing boards. He was fired ten months after returning a signed contract without explanation or due process. He had posted several impassioned, angry and robust tweets denouncing the violation of non-combatant immunity in the Gaza Strip.

I will appear with Professors Salaita and Iymen Chehade of Columbia College Chicago on the October 8 panel at the college. Mr. Chehade is a part-time faculty member who was recently appointed to the Illinois Conference Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure. He has also resisted viewpoint discrimination emanating from his course on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. See here and here. Prior to his appointment to Illinois Committee A, a section was cancelled following a student complaint that Mr. Chehade had shown in class the Academy Award-nominated documentary, 5 Broken Cameras. The committee intervened successfully in restoring the class.

It should be noted that a national-student organization, Students for Justice in Palestine, and the Illinois Gay Liberation Network are organizing the Salaita-speaking tour. Student activism is conducive to critical thinking, emboldens free-thinking instructors and enables intellectual liberation. Such activism also demonstrates not all students share University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise’s assertion that Dr. Salaita represents a clear and present danger to the educational mission of students.

 Below is Salaita’s Chicago tour schedule with commentary from Facebook: Steven Salaita in Chicago Speaking on Palestine & Censorship! Kindly check for updates:

** Monday, October 6 – Northwestern University’s Evanston campus, 5 PM, Harris Hall, Room 107 (Harris Hall is the building nearest to the northeast corner of Sheridan Road and Chicago Avenue).

** Tuesday, October 7 – University of Illinois at Chicago, 1 PM at the Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted Street, Room 605.

** Tuesday, October 7 – University of Chicago, 5:30 PM at the International House, Home Room, 1414 E. 59th Street.

** Wednesday, October 8 – Columbia College, 7 PM, 600 S. Michigan Ave, Room 101, Ferguson Lecture Hall.

** Thursday, October 9 – DePaul University, 4 PM (location TBA).

** Friday, October 10 – Chicago Access Network TV, 6:30 PM on Cable Channel 21 in Chicag

More information about Steven’s tour will be posted here as it becomes available.

Both Steven and his wife, Diana, quit their positions at Virginia Tech when he was recruited to join the U of I at their Champaign-Urbana campus’s American Indian Studies Program. They sold their home and prepared to start their new life in Illinois – until Chancellor Phyllis Wise and, according to FOIA’d documents, wealthy U of I donors stepped in to rescind the appointment [].

“As a result, my family has no income, no health insurance, and no home of our own,” said Steven. “Our young son has been left without a preschool. I have lost the great achievement of a scholarly career – lifetime tenure, with its promised protections of academic freedom.”

Here’s what you can do to help:

1) Help us give Steven an honorarium worthy of the academic courage that he has shown in his defense of Palestine.

To donate via PayPal, go to, click the PayPal link at the bottom of the text, type “Steven Salaita” where it says “Enter description,” and then choose the amount of your donation. To donate by check, make your check payable to “GLN,” write “Steve Salaita” in the memo section, and mail it to GLN, P O Box 409204, Chicago, IL 60640.

All proceeds will go to provide an honorarium to Professor Salaita, and in so doing, say that the U of I board does NOT speak for most Illinoisans!

2) Get your student, religious or community organization to formally endorse Professor Salaita’s speaking tour. To do so, please email

3) Please sign the petition to reinstate Professor Salaita, and share it widely:


4) Share this message widely on social media and list serves, and get others to attend Steven’s October 6 – 10 events!

Thank you!

Sponsored by the Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Columbia College, DePaul University, and the University of Illinois/Chicago, and the multi-issue LGBT organization Gay Liberation Network.

We invite other organizations to endorse Steven’s tour. For more information, email

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