The Daily Illini, the student paper at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been a very reliable source on the tenure travesty of Dr Steven Salaita. They report that Dr Salaita will receive directly a settlement of $600,000, with another $275,000 going to his attorneys. There is, of course, no job restoration, and the University of Illinois is not required to concede any violation of the AAUP’s guidelines and principles on academic freedom, shared governance and due process.
I had heard during the June, AAUP annual meeting in Washington, D.C., from a member of the investigating committee that had visited the University of Illinois campus, that Dr Salaita was possibly offered $850,000, which represented a ten-year multiple of his initial contractually promised salary of $85,000. The $600,000 that Dr Salaita will receive would represent slightly more than seven years of salary: not calculating what would presumably have been an increase in remuneration.
It is not for me to second guess Dr Salaita and his attorneys, who have so nobly represented him throughout his dismissal for antiwar tweets on the Gaza bombardment in 2014. However, Illinois taxpayers, in a state without a budget and in near fiscal paralysis, are ultimately the payers of this settlement. The University of Illinois has already spent, according to the Chicago Tribune, $1,300,000 in legal fees to persecute and ban from campus a defender of non-combatant immunity in wartime. Whether taxpayers should have received more for their money, is an issue for others to decide.
The board of trustees, which was a major perpetrator of the ideological purging of Professor Salaita, approved the settlement, in a 9-1 vote, at a meeting in Chicago today. I presume they had previously been consulted, and were fully cognizant that the settlement does not require the restoration of Dr Salaita to the professoriate.