Committee recommends UI reconsider Salaita case

By Faraz Mirza

A committee called to investigate the circumstances of Steven Salaita’s rejected faculty appointment recommended that the University of Illinois reconsider his case.

The Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure issued a report detailing its review of Salaita’s case. The report critiques the Board of Trustees’ decision not to appoint Salaita to his faculty position, and it argues that Salaita was protected under the University Statutes.

“The reasons given — the civility of tweets made by Dr. Salaita in the summer of 2014 — is not consistent with the University’s guarantee of freedom of political speech,” the report states.

However, the committee, which consists of faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, also stated in the report that Wise raised legitimate questions about Salaita’s “professional fitness.” It further recommended that Salaita’s candidacy be reconsidered by a committee of academic experts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Salaita’s appointment to the American Indian Studies program was rejected 8-1 by the Board of Trustees in September after he posted several controversial tweets on his personal Twitter account. This stimulated a series of frequent workshops and discussions revolving around academic freedom on campus, while CAFT was assigned to investigate the case.

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The University administration could not be immediately reached for comment.