- Thirty-four academic department heads at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have written a letter stating that the university’s treatment of Steven Salaita has hurt the school’s searches for new faculty members and caused more than 35 scholars from outside the school to cancel their scheduled talks on campus.
- The letter, written to the university system’s incoming president, Timothy Killeen, also says that the school’s denial of a tenured professorship to Salaita over his online comments disparaging Israel will lead the American Association of University Professors to censure the school.
- The letter also calls on Killeen to reaffirm the university’s commitment to free speech and academic freedom, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
Will Killeen, the former vice chancellor for research at the State University of New York, offer a fresh perspective on the Salaita saga when he takes office in January? He replaces Robert Easter, who is retiring. The letter points out that statements by Easter and other university system officials against speech considered disrespectful and demeaning are in opposition to the AAUP’s position on academic freedom, namely that the free exchange of ideas outweighs the importance of maintaining civility.