News Local/State

Faculty Petition Supports Chancellor In Salaita Case


Nearly 400 University of Illinois faculty have signed a petition supporting Urbana campus Chancellor Phyllis Wise's decision to withdraw Steven Salaita's appointment after he posted inflammatory comments about Israel on Twitter.

Michael LeRoy, a professor in Labor and Employment Relations, says the petition is meant to counter a petition supporting Salaita, and a number of academic departments' votes of "no confidence" in Wise, after she withdrew his appointment to teach in the American Indian Studies program. Leroy says administrative leaders shouldn't be forced out of office at the first sign of trouble.

"I think we'll be known as a graveyard of leaders who come here, they come here and find themselves embroiled in controversies and are shouted out of office", said Leroy. "And I think that process is every bit as disturbing, or more disturbing, than what the opponents are talking about here."

LeRoy points to the rapid turnover of University trustees, chancellors and presidents in recent history in response to other controversies.

LeRoy says Wise’s acknowledgement of failures in this case – like not consulting with more people before making her decision – is evidence the chancellor usually listens to the campus.