- Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American Professor of American Indian Studies, was a tenured associate professor who signed a job contract in October of 2013 with UIUC and resigned from his previous position at VirginiaTech. In the beginning of August, only a few days after a local newspaper erupted with criticism of his political beliefs, UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise told Salaita he no longer had a job.
- UIUC is now claiming that a boilerplate clause in Salaita’s standard academic contract saying that his position was dependent on the approval of the Board of Trustees means that he had never actually been hired. This must have been news to UIUC’s interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Brian Ross, who wrote Salaita in his October 2013 offer letter:
“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a wonderfully supportive community, and it has always taken a high interest in its newcomers. I feel sure that your career can flourish here, and I hope earnestly that you will accept our invitation.”
- Salaita did and now he is paying the price. John K. Wilson, author of Patriotic Correctness: Academic Freedom and Its Enemies, responded to UIUC’s current claims with appropriate scorn in his Inside Higher Ed column:
“One thing should be clear: Salaita was fired. I’ve been turned down for jobs before, and it never included receiving a job offer, accepting that offer, moving halfway across the country, and being scheduled to teach classes.”