On August 7 Jim Meadows a reporterÂ at WILL Radio in UrbanaÂ interviewed me by telephone on the Professor Salaita appointment travesty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Â The station is part of NPR and also includes a television station. This is their article on the Salaita firingÂ from their website. The embedded links to webpages are from the original.
august 07, 2014
Professorsâ€™ Panel Criticizes Reported Dismissal Of Salaita
By Jim Meadows
A committee of university professors says theÂ University of IllinoisÂ is violating academic freedom and standards of free speech, if it has withdrawn its pending appointment of Steven Salaita.
The online publicationÂ Inside Higher EdÂ cites anonymous sources inÂ reportingÂ that Salaita lost his appointment to teach this fall in the universityâ€™sÂ American Indian StudiesÂ program on theÂ Urbana-ChampaignÂ campus, after controversy arose overÂ statements he made on TwitterÂ critical of Israelâ€™s policies in Gaza.
Professor Peter N. KirsteinÂ ofÂ Saint Xavier UniversityÂ in Chicago says heâ€™s seen persecution of professors who criticize Israel before. But he says if the news reports are accurate, the U of Iâ€™s action is a rare one, â€œwhere they would be so cruel to a professor, and essentially render him possibly destitute. I heard he resigned from Virginia Tech, so I assume he has nothing. Nothing. For tweets? Unbelievable.â€
In aÂ statementÂ released Wednesday, the committee stated that while Salaitaâ€™s tweets may be â€œstrident and vulgarâ€, they are protected speech under the U-S Constitution. The statement says that while off-campus speech can be valid grounds for dismissal, university administrators need to make and defend their charges through appropriate channels.
A spokeswoman for the University says they donâ€™t comment on personnel matters. Salaita has not returned calls from Illinois Public Media seeking comment.