Judge Denies UI Request To Dismiss Salaita FOIA Lawsuit

February 13, 2015
 
Steve Salaita, a professor who lost a job offer from the University of Illinois over dozens of profane Twitter messages that critics deemed anti-Semitic, speaks to students and reporters during a news conference at the University of Illinois campus T

Steve Salaita, a professor who lost a job offer from the University of Illinois over dozens of profane Twitter messages that critics deemed anti-Semitic.

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

A Champaign Circuit Court judge has denied the University of Illinois' request to dismiss a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by lawyers for Steven Salaita.

Attorneys for the university had argued that the complaint was filed improperly. They say it was filed on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights, not Salaita.

Judge Chase Leonhard on Friday agreed to allow Salaita's lawyers to amend the complaint they filed back in November.

Attorney Anand Swaminathanan represents Salaita. He says he plans to amend the complaint and hopes to expedite the process.

“What we are trying to do is obtain these records and have them be made available to the public," he said. "That’s what the Freedom of Information Act is all about. This is the publics information. It should be turned over to the public, and whether that’s done by having Steven Salaita’s name as the plaintiff or CCR’s name as the plaintiff is irrelevant to us.”

Lawyers for the U of I declined to comment after the hearing.

In addition to the FOIA lawsuit, on January 29th the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Loevy & Loevy, a Chicago civil rights law firm, filed a complaint in federal court on behalf of Professor Salaita against the University and its officials for violations of his First Amendment right to free speech and other constitutional rights and breach of his employment contract.

The next court hearing in the FOIA case is set for April 13th.

Story source: WILL