TBT to 1 year ago when the University of Illinois community was rocked by the Urbana-Champaign administration’s decision to withdraw a tenure-track offer to Dr. Steven Salaita. The administration justified this unprecedented refusal to approve the American Indian Studies’ hire by claiming that Salaita’s private twitter account expressed “uncivil” sentiments regarding the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. Dr. Salaita accepted the position in October of 2013 but was notified of the administration’s decision on August 1st of 2014, the same month in which he was slated to begin teaching.
We and many others in the UIUC community protested the university’s policing of political speech and complete disregard for the principles of shared governance, academic freedom, and due process. The university now suffers a growing academic boycott and a formal censure of UIUC by the American Association of University Professors. Amidst the recent email scandal and resignation of Chancellor Wise, let’s not forget that the battle for academic freedom, shared governance and due process at UIUC is not over. Dr. Salaita has still not been reinstated and UIUC professors, especially those in the American Indian Studies program, continue to suffer in this chilling environment.