U of I Trustees: Salaita Case Will Not Be Reconsidered
No means no. The University of Illinois Board of Trustees said in a statement Thursday that their decision against appointing Steven Salaita as a tenured faculty member will not be reconsidered.
Trustees voted to reject the Salaita appointment to the Native American Studies program in September, supporting a decision made the month before by Urbana campus Chancellor Phyllis Wise. But that campus’ faculty Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure cited problems in the way the U of I administration handled the case. They recommended in December that it be reconsidered by an academic committee in the College that sought to employ Salaita, Liberal Arts and Sciences.
In their statement, Trustees say they consider such recommendations “carefully and thoughtfully”. But they maintain that their own decision was also reached carefully, was not due to outside pressure as critics had claimed, and was not a deviation from standard procedures for considering faculty appointments. The final decision on Salaita’s appointment, say trustees, is theirs to make, and theirs alone, and “is a responsibility that cannot be delegated nor abdicated”.
Salaita lost his appointment at the University of Illinois, after he sparked controversy for his tweets harshly critical of Israel during its conflict with Hamas last summer. He had already resigned his position at Virginia Tech when his U of I appointment was rescinded.