UI Chancellor Responds To Salaita Report

Reported on WUIS:

I received the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure’s report this morning, and I thank them for their time and effort. I have read the report. It contains a great deal of information, and it is important that I thoroughly review it and discuss the findings and recommendations with the authors, the provost, deans and other campus leaders.     I strongly believe that shared governance, academic freedom and freedom of speech are foundational to the missions of all universities.  I know that my July massmail has been interpreted by some as creating a speech code policy. That was not my intent at all.  To the extent that it can be read as elevating civility above academic freedom, I want to make clear that I understand that my message was incorrect, and I apologize for that.  I look forward to further discussions on this topic with the faculty and to the clarity those conversations can provide to the campus community.   I sincerely regret that our campus has experienced negative impacts arising out of this matter and that the impact has been disproportionately felt by many of our faculty in the Arts, the Humanities and the Social Sciences. I want to make clear that we support the AAUP’s 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, as well as the updated statement released in 1970. It is our responsibility to foster a campus community where the most uncomfortable and contentious issues can be debated freely and openly. I look forward to continuing the conversations about how to fulfill that responsibility.   Finally, I want to make clear that since Prof. Salaita was not hired we have repeatedly reached out to Prof. Salaita’s attorneys to attempt to resolve this matter and to reimburse him for his reasonable losses. We are committed to continuing this process.

3 thoughts on “UI Chancellor Responds To Salaita Report

  1. Meh. This is damage control speak; there will be nothing done to change anything regarding the Salaita firing. Looking forward to the AAUP actually doing something about this-i.e. investigating and censuring. U of I has earned it. Especially after its weird, problematic Faculty Senate report in which some aligned with the Chancellor were clearly involved and decided it would be a good idea (!) to take the authority of academic programs and departments from them and have a panel decide on the academic qualifications of Salaita. This is not faculty leadership. It’s a joke. A bad one.

    • “weird, problematic Faculty Senate report ”

      If you’re referring to the CAFT report, and claiming it “decided it would be a good idea (!) to take the authority of academic programs and departments from them and have a panel decide on the academic qualifications of Salaita,” that’s not what that report says. I think people genuinely interested in this case and supportive of academic freedom should take the time to understand its details and complexities, before making absolutist pronouncements or expressing their contempt for this effort.

      The ad hoc committee on whether hiring procedures in general should be reformed came back with the answer, “no” (essentially) so while I don’t think it should have been formed in the first place, it also was hardly the nightmare some imagined it would be.

  2. It could be damage control, But, Wise does not disagree with the report’s findings including her unprofessional mishandling of the case, the abnormal steps taken, and counter many of the claims about Salaita, and asks the chancellor and BoT to withdraw their remarks on “civility,” That is pretty damaging report ,

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