The History Department has joined the pro-Salaita no-confidence express at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This action represents the fifth program or department to register this action against Chancellor Phyllis Wise and the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Others are American Indian Studies, English, Philosophy and Asian American Studies.
The Department of History faculty voted overwhelmingly to approve the following resolution at its meeting on September 3, 2014.
Whereas academic freedom and a commitment to fairness and transparency in all academic procedures and practices, including faculty hires, form the foundations of the American public higher educational system;
Whereas Chancellor Phyllis Wise, on August 1, 2014, summarily and without faculty consultation, informed Dr. Steven Salaita that she would not forward his contract to the Board of Trustees, thereby voiding every preceding review by faculty and administrative personnel;
Whereas Chancellor Wise’s August 22, 2014, explanation for her action in the name of “civility” threatens to undermine the protection of tenure and the right to free speech, and obscures the role played in this decision by political pressure;
Whereas President Robert Easter and the Board of Trustees endorsed this violation of shared governance, due process, and academic freedom on August 22, 2014;
Whereas the American Association of University Professors in an August 29, 2014, letter to Chancellor Wise expressed its “deep concern,” and stated that “Aborting an appointment in this manner without having demonstrated cause has consistently been seen by the AAUP as tantamount to summary dismissal, an action categorically inimical to academic freedom and due process and one aggravated in his case by the apparent failure to provide him with any written or even oral explanation”;
The faculty of the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign declares its lack of confidence in the leadership of the current Chancellor, President, and Board of Trustees. We call on the Chancellor, the President, and the Board of Trustees to reverse this decision by reinstating Dr. Salaita.