Departments show support in Salaita decision

By Daily Illini Staff Report

University professors are starting to show support for Chancellor Phyllis Wise after multiple departments cast votes of no confidence last week in Wise’s decision to rescind Professor Steven Salaita’s position at the University.

An online petition in defense of Wise’s decision has been signed by more than 400 academics on campus as of press time and continues to gain support.

“We trust her judgment and recognize that she often must make difficult decisions based on information and perspectives that cannot immediately be shared with all of us,” the online petition states. “In those extraordinary events, she always strives to help the campus community understand the context and reasoning behind decisions, and she always takes responsibility for her decisions.”

On Sept. 4, the Department of Animal Sciences submitted a letter of confidence in Wise and her decision to rescind Salaita’s job offer.

“In true measure of leadership, Chancellor Wise made a tough decision,” the letter stated. “As expected, faculty are not always going to agree with every decision but this is no reason to deprive our campus of a talented, thoughtful and decisive leader. It is time that the silent majorities who support the Chancellor stand up and be heard.”

University President Robert Easter served as the head of the Department of Animal Sciences from 1996 to 2001 and Wise also has a background in animal sciences, including a Ph.D. in zoology. The letter was also signed by Animal Science Professor Matthew Wheeler, former chair of the Senate Executive Committee.