AAUP Committee Formally Recommends U of I Censure

Phyllis Wise, the chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Chancellor Phyllis Wise released a statement expecting UIUC censure.

(Photo courtesy of the University of Illinois)

Following an independent investigation the American Association of University Professors is taking the next step toward censuring the University of Illinois.

“Committee A which is our committee on academic freedom and tenure, has recommended that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign be placed on the AAUP censure list.”

That’s AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum. He met with the AAUP national council and the committee on academic freedom and tenure Saturday in Washington, where a formal recommendation was made to censure the U of I.

University spokeswoman Robin Kaler realeased a statement saying, "The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the world’s pre-eminent universities, with a longstanding commitment to the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech. We have taken several key steps to address the concerns raised by AAUP, including making serious efforts to reach a settlement with Dr. Salaita. We are disappointed to be the subject of an AAUP censure vote, and we will continue to move forward by demonstrating our commitment to the principles of academic freedom."

The university came under scrutiny last year after rescinding a job offer for Salaita after he posted a series of anti-Israel tweets.

He has since sued the university, claiming he'd already been hired.

If added to the censure list, Fichtenbaum says it can be a lengthy process to be removed from the list.

"At a minimum it’s one year, and what would have to happen is one having some sort of settlement with Professor Salaita and making sure that a faculty member in the future would not be fired on the basis of what we consider to be making extramural statements without some sort of due process."

The AAUP censure list is determined each year at the annual meeting. The AAUP reviews all formal recommendations made by committees and national councils and makes the final vote on whether a university will be added or removed from the censure list.

This week U of I Chancellor Phyllis Wise said in a statement she expects the university to be censured, but that she submitted documents to the AAUP this week declaring a generous effort was made to settle with Salaita.

The AAUP will make the final vote on whether to censure the U of I at its annual meeting in Washington, DC, on June 13th.

Story source: WILL