In an e-mail from Professor Steven Salaita’s attorneys, the fired academic from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign addresses the issue of document destruction and concealment:
“The revelation that top administrators at the University of Illinois destroyed evidence is disheartening. The wonderful students and scholars at the university have a right to expect transparency and accountability from the leadership of their great university. I am hopeful that new leadership will restore the university’s reputation by rectifying the wrongs stemming from my case.”
Center for Constitutional Rights Deputy Legal Director Maria LaHood, who can claim some ongoing significant legal victories on behalf of Dr Salaita, noted, “By concealing and destroying communications regarding Professor Salaita’s firing, university officials have deprived the public of the full – and true – story of their misconduct. To truly come clean, the university must not only release all relevant records, but rectify all of its wrongs, including reinstating Salaita to his tenured position.”
It should be emphasised that Professor Salaita is seeking not only monetary relief but also full reinstatement as a tenured associate professor in the American Indian Studies program. I hope he will not merely accept a monetary settlement but stick to his claim that he must also be restored to the University of Illinois faculty. He was hired through the normal process from position announcement, submission of credential file, and on-campus interview. Appropriate units including his academic program and the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences vetted carefully his dossier. As a result, he was proffered a contract that he signed and returned. Anything less that his admission into the professoriate, would not “settle” or challenge the New McCarthyism that is increasingly spreading throughout academia.
In my opinion, both a monetary settlement for past wages lost, and restoration of appointment are required to even consider removal of censure. A university should not be able to buy itself off the censure list.