University of Illinois Kaler Remains Mum on Salaita Firing

I tried what others have done with similar lack of success. I asked Robin Kaler, Associate Chancellor, Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to comment on the Professor Steven Salaita contract reversal and dismissal. Before I replicate the email, I concur with her refusal to comment substantively. In my case, and there are many similarities to Salaita, St Xavier University was all over the place trashing my character, saying I had “fallen off the deep end,” putting me on their website as a virtual F.B.I. most wanted person for five to six months and deriding my ethos as “anti-military” (Indeed! I don’t like humans killing others!). Should I be pro-military? I am a veteran and son of an army captain and, yes, anti-military. Is that a crime to hate war and militaries who fight them?

I think Robin is absolutely correct in not commenting on the Salaita apparent firing for disturbing pro-Israeli military supporters of their ruthless actions in Gaza. Although I had to ask her twice for a response, she is clearly acting in a manner consistent with university ethics in terms of release of information. I suspect if there is a settlement, my money is on it, then the two parties, Salaita and UI-UC would issue a joint statement and then neither will discuss it further. However, if Steven Salaita does not get at least three years of salary and benefits, he should walk and go for it in court in a lengthy and highly publicised trial!!

I will have a lot more to say if there is a settlement but I concur totally with Associate Chancellor Kaler. Time will allow, if necessary, other remedies in demanding answers: law suits, AAUP investigation, UIUC Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure investigation.

From: Kirstein, Peter N.
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 1:01 PM
To: Kaler, Robin Neal
Subject: RE: Silence is Golden: Speech is Super Golden

Thanks, Robin:

It is good policy! I wish all practiced it.

Peter

From: Kaler, Robin Neal <rkaler@illinois.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 12:55 PM
To: Kirstein, Peter N.
Subject: RE: Silence is Golden: Speech is Super Golden

Dear Prof. Kirstein:

As a matter of University policy and practice, we do not comment publicly upon nor discuss generally any personnel matters, including matters involving employment or tenure.

Warm regards,

Robin Kaler

From: Kirstein, Peter N. [mailto:kirstein@sxu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 12:52 PM
To: Kaler, Robin Neal
Subject: RE: Silence is Golden: Speech is Super Golden

Is it customary to respond to requests for information? If it is, can you respond, please if you are on the job today and able to do so?

Best regards,

Peter

From: Kirstein, Peter N.
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 9:28 AM
To: rkaler@illinois.edu
Subject: Silence is Golden: Speech is Super Golden

Hi, Robin:

I would be pleased, if honoured, to make any corrections, deletions, mea culpas in this matter if you would clarify any issues concerning the Salaita “affair.”

We have been unable to penetrate the labyrinth of silence. I do feel somewhat uneasy about the role I have played in this but in addition to sending our report to the chancellor, I am clearing my conscience in also asking you for any comment you have on the situation and the AAUP role in it.

You might even ask those above you, whether they are prepared to provide some response to this. We are not on a crusade; we work on principle and seek the truth. I am pretty sure at some point, you will get permission to speak on this matter. I know at some point Steven will: who comes first unless a settlement?

Peace and with all due respect and sincerity,

Peter

Peter N. Kirstein, Ph.D.                                                                                                                               Vice President A.A.U.P. Ill.                                                                                                                     Chair: Illinois Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure                                          Professor of History                                                                                                                              Saint Xavier University  Blog/

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