UIUC AAUP Statements on Salaita Case

UPDATE: I’ll be speaking at a panel on “Shared Governance and Academic Freedom: Where Are We Now?” at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Weds. Feb. 11, 7:30pm @ University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign, sponsored by the Campus Faculty Association. On a related topic, the AAUP chapter at UIUC has issued these two statements on this issue:

American Association of University Professors University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chapter

January 29, 2015

Statement by the UIUC AAUP Chapter Policy Committee Regarding The December 23, 2014 Report of the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure

In September 2014, the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the University of Illinois declined to approve the faculty appointment of Dr. Steven Salaita, who had received and accepted a University offer of appointment contingent on BoT’s approval. Since the Board rescinded the offer, the University community has been deeply divided into critics and supporters of the University administration’s decision. A national outcry and boycott movement have also grown in response to the Board of Trustees’ decision, and the University risks further sanctions.

On December 23, 2014, the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (CAFT), a committee of the Senate of the Urbana-Champaign campus, issued a report on the University administration’s and the Board’s actions with regard to Dr. Salaita. CAFT has the special charge, written into the University Statues, of evaluating possible violations of academic freedom and shared governance. Faculty from five different Colleges plus a representative of the University Library produced a report that was the result of months of investigative work and deliberation.

The UIUC AAUP Policy Committee urges the administration of the University to respect the recommendations of this committee, as it is the duly appointed faculty body for consideration of this matter. While one recommendation may no longer be feasible (the recommendation to appoint a committee in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to reconsider whether Dr. Salaita should be appointed), all other recommendations should be adopted. The administration’s delay risks further damaging the University.

American Association of University Professors University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chapter

January 21, 2015

Statement by the UIUC AAUP Chapter Policy Committee on Academic Freedom and Shared Governance

Based on our review of Dr. Steven Salaita’s case, we conclude that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has violated principles of shared governance and of academic freedom, both in procedure and in substance. These beliefs are limiting the University’s ability to engage with potential visiting scholars and to hire faculty. The University administration should recognize that this situation will present challenges now and in the coming years. We must devise and publicize strategies for facing and overcoming these challenges promptly. It is in that spirit that we strongly urge the Board of Trustees and University administration to act on the following in an urgent manner:

1) Implement the recommendations of the Final Report of the UIUC Provost’s Hiring Policies and Procedures Review Committee (dated December 12, 2014) regarding changes in hiring policies. In particular, we believe prompt action is needed on implementation of the Committee’s second recommendation which states, “The UI Board of Trustees should formally delegate its responsibility for tenured and tenure-track academic appointments that do not involve administrative positions at the level of deans and above to the president, who in turn should continue the existing policy of delegating to the chancellor and provost.”

2) Express their unwavering and unconditional commitment to academic freedom and shared governance as articulated by the American Association of University Professors and widely accepted throughout the academic community nationwide.

3) Rescind remarks made in Chancellor Phyllis Wise’s mass email of August 22, 2014, to the UIUC Community.

We believe it is critical that these steps are taken promptly to regain the University’s stature as a worldclass research institution with appropriate values.

2 thoughts on “UIUC AAUP Statements on Salaita Case

  1. Very glad you’ll be speaking there and that the panel is being held. I think now is the time not to back down on the Salaita case and its implications for academic freedom and shared governance but to go full steam ahead with their defense.

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