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Faculty call on administration to restore academic freedom

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Faculty call on administration to restore academic freedom

By Daily Illini Staff Report

In an open letter, 330 University faculty members called on Chancellor Phyllis Wise, President Robert Easter and the Board of Trustees to restore core principles of academic freedom and faculty governance.

The letter was given to the Chancellor, the President and the Board following the Board’s Sept. 11 decision not to appoint Steven Salaita to a tenured faculty position in the American Indian studies program. The letter also asked for a reversal of that decision.  

Currently the campus Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure is conducting an investigation of the Salaita case; this could lead to an investigation by the American Association of University Professors.

The AAUP advised the Chancellor on Aug. 29 that her Aug. 2 action was “an improper summary dismissal and insisted that Salaita receive pay while the issues surrounding his appointment are investigated by CAFT, the campus mechanism through which such issues are typically resolved,” according to a press release from UIUC Faculty.

Pending the outcome of the CAFT investigation, the AAUP could eventually vote to censure the University, which is its most severe and consequential response to an investigation.

If placed on the AAUP censure list, the consequences of this could be detrimental to the future of the University because members of the AAUP are encouraged not to accept appointments at an institution that has been placed on this list.

Bryan Boccelli and Miranda Holloway contributed to this report. 

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