Steven Salaita on tour in Chicago!

Steve on tour in Chicago!
Steve on tour in Chicago!

This info just in: Steve will be visiting the Chicago area in early October for a series of talks! We will update this post with more details as we get them. Don’t miss your chance to hear from Steven, an engaging and interesting speaker!

During the recent Israeli slaughter of over 2000 people in Gaza, Professor Steven Salaita bravely spoke out against this barbaric assault and in defense of Palestine.

For this, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees purged him from his tenured position, in direct violation of basic norms of academic freedom.

Now Professor Salaita is going on the offensive – against academic censorship, and against the continuing colonial domination of the Palestinian people that this censorship aims to cover for. Join us as Steven Salaita speaks at six Chicago area campuses ––

** Monday, October 6 – Northwestern University’s Evanston campus, 5 PM (location TBA).

** Tuesday, October 7 – University of Chicago, early evening (specific time & location TBA).

** Wednesday, October 8 – Columbia College, 7 PM, 600 S. Michigan Ave, Room 101, Ferguson Lecture Hall.

** Thursday, October 9 – DePaul University, 4 PM (location TBA).

** Thursday, October 9 – Loyola University, 7 PM (location TBA).

** Friday, October 10 – University of Illinois at Chicago, 3 PM. Lecture Center C4 (enter the main doors of UIC’s student Center East located at 750 S. Halsted Street, continue to walk straight through and out the building. Lecture Center C4 will be on the right.)

More information about Steven’s tour will be posted here as it becomes available.

Both Steven and his wife, Diana, quit their positions at Virginia Tech when he was recruited to join the U of I at their Champaign-Urbana campus’s American Indian Studies Program. They sold their home and prepared to start their new life in Illinois – until Chancellor Phyllis Wise and, according to FOIA’d documents, wealthy U of I donors stepped in to rescind the appointment [http://coreyrobin.com/2014/09/02/reading-the-salaita-papers/].

“As a result, my family has no income, no health insurance, and no home of our own,” said Steven. “Our young son has been left without a preschool. I have lost the great achievement of a scholarly career – lifetime tenure, with its promised protections of academic freedom.”

Here’s what you can do to help:

1) Help us give Steven an honorarium worthy of the academic courage that he has shown in his defense of Palestine.

To donate via PayPal, go to http://gayliberation.net/donate.html, click the PayPal link at the bottom of the text, type “Steven Salaita” where it says “Enter description,” and then choose the amount of your donation. To donate by check, make your check payable to “GLN,” write “Steve Salaita” in the memo section, and mail it to GLN, P O Box 409204, Chicago, IL 60640.

All proceeds will go to provide an honorarium to Professor Salaita, and in so doing, say that the U of I board does NOT speak for most Illinoisans!

2) Get your student, religious or community organization to formally endorse Professor Salaita’s speaking tour. To do so, please email LGBTliberation@aol.com

3) Please sign the petition to reinstate Professor Salaita, and share it widely: http://www.change.org/p/phyllis-m-wise-we-demand-corrective-action-on-the-scandalous-firing-of-palestinian-american-professor-dr-steven-salaita

And,

4) Share this message widely on social media and list serves, and get others to attend Steven’sOctober 6 – 10 events!

Thank you!

Sponsored by the Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Columbia College, DePaul University, Loyola University and the University of Illinois/Chicago, and the multi-issue LGBT organization Gay Liberation Network.

We invite other organizations to endorse Steven’s tour. For more information, emailLGBTliberation@aol.com

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In Defense of the Humanities: Professor Anna Westerståhl Stenport for Steven Salaita and for the U of I

Professor Anna Westerståhl Stenport of the University of Illinois
Professor Anna Westerståhl Stenport of the University of Illinois

On Tuesday, September 11th, Professor Anna Westerståhl Stenport led the public comments session of the Board of Trustees meeting with a comprehensive and moving statement about what the BoT’s foregone decision stood to do to the humanities. As many have suggested, this assault on the humanities and, to a similar extent, on the social sciences, stands to reason, as these are the ares of the university from which research and thought most challenging to the status quo tend to emanate. Without further ado, Dr. Stenport, in her own, powerful words:

Anna Stenport, University of Illinois:

Public Comments to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, September 11 2014

I have asked to speak to you about matters of institutional advancement and faculty involvement in fundraising and development. I am a tenured faculty member of Scandinavian Studies, an LAS Conrad Humanities Professorial Scholar, and Director of the European Union Center, an interdisciplinary unit representing faculty and students interests from Engineering to Applied Arts. For almost a decade, I have been wholeheartedly dedicated to providing stellar teaching, scholarship, and academic leadership to the UI.

Three weeks ago, I filmed a segment for the University of Illinois Foundation. In the video, I told my story about the positive impact of private giving on my scholarship and teaching. Such funding has a multiplier effect. It benefits the students I teach and advise and it allows me to bring my research out into the world as a public intellectual.

I currently work with advancement staff to garner grants and donations for the many disciplines I represent. Building on past fundraising successes, I had planned to reach out to new potential high contribution donors and private foundations this month. I am now quite reluctant to do so. I am unwilling to be the face of an institution whose Board of Trustees is seen by global media as failing to respect legally protected first amendment rights of free speech, established practices of academic freedom, and the faculty governance structures in place at Illinois. Interference in the Salaita appointment has made it untenable for me to act in good faith as a public figure for the U of I.

I am strongly opposed to the non-instatement of Dr. Salaita. So are the 300 tenured and tenure stream faculty who have publicly stated so.

Interference in the Salaita appointment has inflamed tensions between departments in ways that impede our work and collegiality. It has pitted faculty against faculty, and student against student. Furthermore, the rescission of a hire after approval by American Indian Studies, LAS, and the Office of the Provost, has been interpreted as a reason for the local community and even some faculty members to discredit the contributions of ethnic studies or the humanities writ large.

The humanities necessarily take positions that challenge and concern deeply-held values. They are “controversial.” In that way, Humanities disciplines are critical contributors to the liberal arts education that is the cornerstone of the UI. The Humanities are the repository of the core principles on which a civil and egalitarian society rests. Every UI alum has experienced and learned about these core principles of the Humanities while studying at Illinois. Donors support the Humanities because they believe in these core principles. This kind of education is what private sector employers seek in new hires.

Interference in the Salaita appointment process is wrecking the humanities, and by extension the institution as a whole, right now. Some departments are considering cancelling their own approved faculty searches because they don’t feel that anyone will want to come to a campus where they perceive the Board of Trustees does not respect faculty governance and intellectual freedom. As long as the international boycott is in effect, there will be pressure on them, and good reasons for them, not to accept positions here. This will have catastrophic long-term effects on our ability to recruit and retain the best faculty.

This perilous trajectory has multiple consequences. Not only do our students have a right to be taught by professors who are leaders in their fields; without these faculty, external grants will plummet. Rankings will be impacted. Donors’ willingness to contribute to the Humanities could be eviscerated.

By interfering in university governance, the heart and soul of this great university risks being destroyed. I am calling upon you to recognize the deplorable situation in which we have now been placed. I ask you to reconsider and reverse this damaging course. This will allow my colleagues and I to help the institution and UI students put this behind them as much as they can and for the university to again reach its full potential.

Anna W. Stenport
aws@illinois.edu

“The New Civility” – New Posters/Graphics to #SupportSalaita

You can’t make this stuff up, folks – Board of Trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy responded to a message of concern from a Department Chair at a peer institution by telling her, “You weren’t brief enough” and News-Gazette columnist Jim Dey uses a little dog-whistle journalism to rally his supporters. Download these ready-to-print .PDF posters now to demonstrate your position on this “new civility” as demonstrated by Kennedy and Dey.

#SupportSalaita!

new civilitynew civility2

New Graphics and Posters to #SupportSalaita! Download Now!

CancelledCivility Silence Death Gagged Lincoln Gagged Alma No Confidence Salaita Fact Sheet

 UPDATED SEPT. 7th, 2014

Check out these new bold and striking visuals and fact sheets for you to print, remix and distribute! Click on each image to download a US Letter-sized PDF version of each image to print out and circulate. Save the image file version (right-click on image) and use as a Facebook, Twitter or other avatar! 

Print out these graphics and affix to your office door on campus and distribute fact sheets to friends and colleagues. Make posters for on-campus events! Show your support for Salaita today!

Please also consider donating to support Steve in his legal defense with the University of Illinois. Click on the PayPal link at the right for secure credit and debit card transactions. Thank you!

New Poster Available: CANCELLED

UPDATED 9/4 with new cancellations!

Now available, this fantastic new PDF suitable for printing out on your door, affixing to a wall, or slipping under the entrance to Swanlund. Featuring the growing list of talks and events CANCELLED at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign due to the boycott now on. Because of Chancellor Wise’s actions, the entire community will miss out on these events. Download now!!

C A N C E L L E D ! !
C A N C E L L E D ! !

Today’s New York Times Covers Steve’s Case

nytheadline
Today’s print edition New York Times and yesterday’s digital has (finally!) covered Steve’s case
. While the current article is entitled, “University’s Rescinding of Job Offer Prompts an Outcry,” the original digital edition headline read in part, “Illinois Revoked Job Offer After Professor Criticized Israel.” The latter demonstrated a clear statement on the part of the NYT that Steve’s firing had much more to do with politics than with “civility,” as claimed by Chancellor Wise and the Illinois Trustees.

Reporting on the wave of boycotters, petition signers and those scholars and others who have rescinded their participation or declined offers to visit the campus in the wake of Steve’s firing:

The decision, which raised questions about contractual loopholes and academic freedom, almost immediately drew pushback from the academic community. Thousands of scholars in a variety of disciplines signed petitions pledging to avoid the campus unless it reversed its decision to rescind the job offer. A number of prominent academic associations also urged the university to reconsider.

In the past few days, several people have followed through on promises to boycott the institution. Two scholars declined invitations to speak at the prestigious Center for Advanced Study/MillerComm Lecture Series this fall, and a campus-based project called off a four-day national conference that it was scheduled to host there in October.

 

While, as Corey Robin has since pointed out, the Times erred on its reporting of how many scholars have cancelled events, the piece did get the tenor of the academic community largely right, in its shock and outrage at how little respect the University of Illinois has demonstrated for academic freedom, speech and for Steve himself and for his family. The article also reported on how Steve’s colleagues in American Indian Studies  have been scrambling to provide for their students, left utterly in the lurch by the Chancellor’s unilateral decision to disregard faculty governance procedures and to fire Steve. 

With this lengthy  story in the New York Times, there can be little doubt that the injustices done to Steve have captured the attention and sympathies of many, reaching far beyond the limited scope of the ivory tower and into the mainstream. It would seem that the University of Illinois has a PR catastrophe on its hands, entirely of its own creation.

Read the piece in its entirety here.

 

AAUP: University of Illinois On Notice for Academic Freedom Violations

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has released a powerful letter addressed to Chancellor Phyllis Wise regarding Steven’s case. In it, Associate Secretary Anita Levy articulates the facts of the case and connects them to other important cases of academic freedom violations and employment. She then speaks specifically to Steve’s situation, to wit:

We are deeply concerned about the action taken against Professor Salaita. Long after he was offered and accepted a tenured position, specific arrangements were made regarding courses, schedules, and  salary. The exchange of letters between Interim Dean Ross and Professor Salaita appears to have been in accordance with generally established procedures by which academic appointments are tendered and accepted. Ten months elapsed during which time no one in the university administration gave any indication that the appointment as agreed upon might not be brought before the board.

The powerful letter closes with the following unequivocal statement and demand that the University meet its obligations to pay Steve per the terms of his employment contract:

Until these issues have been resolved, we look upon Professor Salaita’s situation as that of a faculty member suspended from his academic responsibilities pending a hearing on his fitness to continue. Under the joint 1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings, any such suspension is to be with pay. As detailed earlier in this letter, Professor Salaita has incurred major financial expenses since he accepted the University of Illinois offer. We urge – indeed insist – that he be paid salary as set in the terms of the appointment pending the result of the CAFT proceeding.

Dr. Levy asks for a “prompt response” from the Chancellor. We will keep you posted on any new developments on this front. Read the letter in its entirety here!