Salaita’s stellar teaching record exposes political motivation behind his firing

Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise (Photo: L. Brian Stauffer)

Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise (Photo: L. Brian Stauffer)

We have learnt that at a recent orientation meeting with senior faculty, University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise claimed that she fired Professor Steven Salaita in part because she was concerned about Dr. Salaita’s classroom teaching.

This is the clearest evidence we have thus far that University administrators at UIUC have caved in to pro-Israel propaganda in firing Salaita.

We submit that Phyllis Wise’s ‘concern’ about Salaita’s teaching is not an academic concern, but a political one.

We also submit that the Chancellor developed this ‘concern’ after Salaita’s publication and teaching record–in other words his academic record– had been vetted and approved by the search committee that offered Salaita his job.

Which political groups have insisted that Steven Salaita is a threat to his students?

1.  On July 21st the Daily Caller published an on-line article attacking Salaita’s twitter posts on the war on Gaza as anti-Israel.  Immediately thereafter, the local Champaign-Urbana newspaper, News-Gazette, reported that Salaita’s twitter posts were “drawing ire.”

2.  According to the Jewish Voice, “in a letter to Robert Easter, President of the University of Illinois, Rabbi Meyer H. May, Executive Director of the Wiesenthal Center and Aron Hier, who heads the Center’s Campus Outreach program, specifically questioned the qualifications of a professor who would liken Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, ‘to a radical extremist group who crucifies civilians and then posts the videos, like trophies, on YouTube.’ May and Hier noted that such outrageous statements present a real danger to the entire campus community, especially to its Jewish students.”

3. Salaita’s status as a “danger” to Jewish students was also reiterated by UIUC emeritus professor Cary Nelson in a public commentary after Salaita was fired. In Inside Higher Ed, Nelson wrote of Salaita:

Will Jewish students in his classes feel comfortable after they read ‘Let’s cut to the chase: If you’re defending Israel right now you’re an awful human being’ (July 8), ‘Zionist uplift in America: every little Jewish boy and girl can grow up to be the leader of a murderous colonial regime’ (July 14), or ‘No wonder Israel prefers killing Palestinians from the sky. It turns out American college kids aren’t very good at ground combat?’ (July 23)? The last of these tweets obviously disparages the two young American volunteers who lost their lives fighting with the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza. What would he say if the Arab/Israeli conflict were to come up in a class he was teaching on Arab-American fiction? Would he welcome dissent to his views? Would students believe him if he appeared to do so?

The close alignment of characterizations of Salaita as a classroom concern between Phyllis Wise and advocates for Israel suggest one thing: that Teacher Salaita has been profiled and tagged by the University of Illinois. He has become the “bad Arab.”

We say this because Salaita’s actual record as a classroom teacher is extraordinary.

Let us examine the facts as reviewed by the faculty search committee that hired him (and known to us from a source).

Steven Salaita has taught for eight years at Virginia Tech.  In all of this time, no student has ever filed a formal complaint against him.

Student Evaluation forms in most Universities have different categories under which students judge their professor’s teaching.  Here is what such a form typically looks like:


To the faculty search committee at UIUC that hired him, Salaita submitted student evaluations for six courses. Five were Undergraduate courses and one was a Graduate course. They were all in Literature, Salaita’s area of expertise.

The student evaluations for Steven Salaita are stunning.

In Fall 2009, 29 of 30 students responding rated Salaita’s “knowledge of subject” as “Excellent”.  In the same course, 93 percent of students rated Professor Salaita’s “overall rating” as “excellent,” and 2 as “good.”

In the same term, another group of students gave Salaita nearly identical—though even better —marks: 29 of 30 rated him “excellent” for knowledge of subject, 30 of 30 graded him excellent for grading fairness, and 93 percent rated him “excellent” for overall rating, 1 good.

These numbers repeat consistently over all six of the courses Professor Salaita submitted for review.  The lowest rating he received in the “excellent” category for “overall rating” was 86 percent.  Salaita never received, in any of the six courses evaluated, a single rating of “poor” for any of ten categories of teaching reviewed.  In his lone graduate seminar, he scored a perfect 100 percent rating of “excellence” in the category of “overall rating.”

But for purposes of our argument, it is especially important to note student evaluations of Professor Salaita in the category of “concern and respect” for students.  Here is where students evaluate their professor for professional empathy, respect for diverse points of view, and sensitivity to student opinion and student lives.

In the six courses reviewed Professor Salaita scored as follows in this category:

# of Students

30 Total: 28 Excellent  2 Good

30 Total:  30 out of 30 Excellent

10 Total: 10 out of 10 Excellent

29 Total: 28 Excellent 1 Good

28 Total: 28 out of 28 excellent

28 Total: 25 out of 28 excellent, 2 good, one No Response

In addition to these metrics, Professor Salaita submitted a peer review letter of his teaching by a Virginia Tech colleague in English.   This colleague visited Salaita’s classes to provide the department an assessment of Salaita’s teaching.

The letter cites Salaita’s numerical excellence in student evaluations, but goes on to praise his teaching in terms that would be the envy of Professors everywhere:

While the numbers are impressive, the student comments bear out in detail how deserving Steven is of the high ratings.  The students are acutely aware that they are privileged to be studying with a well-regarded scholar, who draws his knowledge from years of study and experience.  Steven is perceived as being knowledgeable and accessible—he takes time to talk with students and to encourage them in preparing their writing assignments… When asked questions in class, Steve gives factual and thoughtful replies.  It is clear to all that the teacher has mastery of his field.

Salaita’s colleague goes on to say:

The classes I visited focused on several very contemporary bodies of literature, most specifically Arab-American literature.  These works are difficult to understand and appreciate fully without the help of a good guide who knows the turf.  Professor Salaita is extremely well-informed on the history and current status of the many nations, political parties and religious sects of the Middle East.  This subject matter is urgently important not only for specialists in international affairs, but for anyone seeking to better understand the violent and volatile contemporary world.

This record shows only one thing: that Steven Salaita is an outstanding classroom teacher.

The glaring disconnect between Salaita’s actual teaching record and Phyllis Wise’s ‘concern’ about Salaita’s teaching persuades us that the motivations behind such a concern can only be political—for it certainly isn’t academic.

Indeed, Wise’s use of a language of ‘concern’ about students who might have Salaita as a professor, seems to suggest that she is eager to protect students from Salaita.  For those us living in the post 9/11  world, such a language conjures up all too easily images of the “dangerous Arab” or the “angry Arab” that have been used to harass, detain, imprison and expel them.  It is shorthand Islamophobia.

The politically motivated firing of Dr. Salaita can not be legally justified by politically motivated insinuations.

Steven Salaita was discriminated against and lost his job. He lost his job because he spoke about the deep injustice and violence suffered by Palestinians.  We should not let this act of discrimination be shrouded for us in a language of concern for students or concerns about civility.

It is this war against scholars who criticize Israel that should be rejected as uncivil, illegal, and a threat to academic freedom.

About Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen

Tithi Bhattacharya is a Professor of South Asian History at Purdue University, a long time activist for Palestinian justice and on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review. Bill V. Mullen is a Professor of American Studies at Purdue University. He is the author of many books a member of the organizing committee for the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).

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38 Responses

  1. just
    August 20, 2014, 12:49 pm

    What will Wise do with this preponderance of irrefutable facts?

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”
    ― Walter Scott, Marmion

    Thanks, Professors!

    • talknic
      August 20, 2014, 2:05 pm

      “What will Wise do with this preponderance of irrefutable facts?”

      Dig a deeper hole.

  2. Robert
    August 20, 2014, 12:53 pm

    From the perspective of the chancellor, her position has some merit. She really does have to be concerned about how a Jewish student might be threatened from the specific wording of his tweets. Which shows what a galactic fuck-up Zionism is! These issues are so powerful that they are beyond the range of university conversation. Thats what the internet is allowing, and why the internet is a Reformation of human consciousness.

  3. globalconsciousness
    August 20, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Does anyone know what the status is regarding Prof. Salaita now?
    Is he taking legal action?
    One would hope so…

  4. Jim Holstun
    August 20, 2014, 1:11 pm

    If lllinois is anything like other universities, then we will find Chancellor Wise herself among the people who signed off on Professor Salaita’s appointment there, or at least a senior administrator whom she appointed. So in effect, one has to agree either with Chancellor Wise #1 or Chancellor Wise #2.

    Cary Nelson’s contortions continue to impress: now he’s concerned that students might not feel “comfortable” in Professor Salaita’s classes. Right, Cary, because that’s what education is all about: fluffing the pillows and keeping students comfortable. In non-Zionist contexts, Professor Nelson would guffaw at the very idea.

  5. Stephen Shenfield
    August 20, 2014, 1:20 pm

    Clearly some role is played in this by the idea that people have a right to feel “comfortable” (at least psychologically). This seems to be an American cultural norm of sorts. Does anyone know how it developed? It is directly opposed to the spirit of real education because anything that conflicts with our deep beliefs is bound to cause discomfort.

    • JeffB
      August 20, 2014, 2:05 pm

      @Stephen Shenfield

      Well it developed from the civil rights movement where concepts like “hostile work environment” became common grounds for suits. Creating a “offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere” was a way of denying blacks and women employment. There was a general notion of constructive dismissal that driving someone out of the workplace is effectively firing them in cases like Turner v. Anheuser-Busch

      Ignoring complaints, bullying, swearing, verbal abuse (especially in areas related to sex, race, religion), unfair or biased criticism especially public have been explicitly cites. You do have an obligation to be polite in the workplace. If Salaita’s tweets are read as indicating an intent to engage in those behaviors that puts the university in legal jeopardy if he then carries through on the threats.

      • Mooser
        August 20, 2014, 4:53 pm

        You’re a joke, JeffyB.

      • piotr
        August 21, 2014, 10:19 am

        Israeli-born professor Gur used editorial in the newspaper of his university to equate persons invited by his colleagues with “Hanna Arendt and Stella Kübler [who collaborated with Gestapo to identify Jews who were hiding in Berlin during WWII]” which striked me as rude and not improving the image of University of Pennsylvania. That was neither polite nor sane: how to be “the like” of Arendt and Kübler in the same time??. However, nobody would think that university should reprimand either the professor or the student newspaper.

        Mind you, the idea of equating criticism of Israel, however high minded and cultured, with most rank treason and Nazism is old and popular among Zionist academicians (and non-academic Zionists). While this is clearly a fascistic meme, it is duly classified as a part of American “mainstream”. But anger at massive civilian casualties inflicted to perpetuate poverty of millions is “extremist”. This is “mainstream” for you.

        In any case, “academic freedom” is necessary for universities to function properly in the face of constant pressures from various lobbies like NRA, Israeli lobby and quite a few other lobbies. NRA influence is behind an attempt to fire a tenured professor at University of Kansas right now who also had an “intemperate tweet”. You can find a relationship between “mad cow disease” brain disorder and the habit of eating squirrel brains and get fired (happened in Kentucky). If universities will not resist such pressures, they will simply degenerate, and yet, as the society, we need properly functioning universities: do we want to have a modern economy that is more inventive than China, or just compete on the basis of cheap labor?

        Screening the faculty for the ability of keeping their mouth shut is an old and very bad idea.

    • lysias
      August 20, 2014, 2:38 pm

      Do these people read any of Plato’s dialogues and what Socrates has to say in them at all?

  6. seafoid
    August 20, 2014, 1:26 pm

    It’s exactly the same as Finkelstein’s experience.

  7. JeffB
    August 20, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Since this issue keeps coming up I thought it worth noting that the offer letter is now online with all the disclaimers:
    link to

    The letter indicates several times this is a tentative offer ex:

    The University of Illinois Statutes (Article IX, Section 3.a.) provide that only the Board of Trustees has the authority to make formal appointments to the academic staff. New academic staff members will receive a formal Notification of Appointment from the Board once the hiring unit has received back from the candidate all required documents, so the appointment can be processed. Required forms normally include the electronic Employee Information form, the I-9, W-4, and the Authorization for Deposit of Recurring Payments form.

    In his defense Page 1 of the document makes it clear that the I-9 in his case would be handled when he arrives on campus which is very odd, I’ve never done that with an I-9 since the invention of the fax. So in theory the letter’s contradictions seems to indicate he’s supposed to be working before his appoint is formally approved. This is unquestionably a sloppy hiring process. Well everyone can read and judge for themselves.

    • Donald
      August 21, 2014, 8:04 am

      ” So in theory the letter’s contradictions seems to indicate he’s supposed to be working before his appoint is formally approved. ”

      That issue is covered by Corey Robin and others at Crooked Timber. Apparently it’s a fairly common procedure with academia. It’s obviously a stupid way to proceed, as the current situation demonstrates, no matter which side of the issue one takes. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that a university has opened itself up to a big fat lawsuit if it tells someone he will be teaching some courses in September, the person quits his job, moves 1000 miles, only to be told that the university rubber stampers have decided not to rubber stamp the appointment. The time for the college bureaucrats to interfere with hiring decisions (on good or bad grounds) should have been long before.

      • JeffB
        August 21, 2014, 5:41 pm


        I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that a university has opened itself up to a big fat lawsuit if it tells someone he will be teaching some courses in September, the person quits his job, moves 1000 miles, only to be told that the university rubber stampers have decided not to rubber stamp the appointment.

        I am not a lawyer either. Normally in academia the job offer is made by the dean but the tenure offer is made by the board. So what I had thought was that Salaita was being offered a job, but had been promised tenure and now was either going to have a serious tenure review or not get it at all. And he and the media were just characterizing this as “fired”.

        But that letter makes it clear that, no in fact Illinois has a non standard process. The problem is the letter is explicit about their process. In industry it is common for this sort of thing to happen but there it is made crystal clear that you are an at-will employee.

        I kinda agree that the University is on very questionable ground. I don’t agree they clear cut lose.

        My read of this earlier was that the school issued a letter of intent not a contract. Which means Salaita is entitled to the cost of goods and services he had to procure and did procure prior to the contract going into effect. It doesn’t entitle him to lost opportunity costs like a breach of contract would. So I can easily see him winning damages for the cost of the move because clearly that document is a letter of intent. And if that’s all he goes for, I think the University will settle quickly. But I can’t see him winning damages for the quitting his previous job because that’s not a good he procured which is what people are claiming he’ll get.

        That being said, the University’s reputation is also on the line in a suit. I’m still of the opinion that if I had to pick which hand I’d rather hold it would be the University’s if this went to a suit. Remember Salaita if he is going to try and prove breach on grounds free speech then has to prove his allegations by preponderance of the evidence. The University’s lawyers could choose to respond to a suit by trashing him in court. Anyone with a multiyear career can be made to look bad once someone crawls up their ass with a microscope. As another point as others have pointed out, Salaita was hired for Indian Studies but most of his professional work is on Israel / Palestine which isn’t Indian. Wise could say that’s why she rejected him and if she does Salaita is going to have to prove otherwise. Etc…

        Finally let me say that lots of stuff in academia is done on the basis of faith with stupid contracts. For example for my wife’s thesis copy in the library she had to sign a contract which puts her in crystal clear violation of copyright law for about 1/3rd of her entire body of work (i.e. the electronic distributor owns clear copyright and she doesn’t even have legal license). I was horrified when I read the contract and told her not to sign it. She blew me off and said it was standard. I learned later signing over of rights this broadly is normal. Academics sign contracts all the time that say one thing but via. tradition are taken to mean another. Which is a very bad practice and in no way unique to Salaita. When it is ambiguous I can’t see how the courts are supposed to deal with nonsense like this other than to just enforce the contract as written.

  8. lysias
    August 20, 2014, 2:37 pm

    So is a professor not allowed to tell the truth about the history of Communist governments because a Communist student might be disturbed?

    • Gene Shae
      August 20, 2014, 6:33 pm

      This analogy is stunning in its level of inappropriateness. No, a professor should not be disallowed to tell the truth. They may not, however, be in a position to harm a student based on their political or religious beliefs. This is what the leaders of the University are trying to do.

      • Walker
        August 20, 2014, 7:23 pm

        How is the analogy “stunning in its level of inappropriateness”?

      • Annie Robbins
        August 20, 2014, 9:14 pm

        it’s not. shae is just using a rhetorical a device (aghast!) to avoid supporting his unsupportable position (re “leaders of the University” are preventing Salaita “harm[ing] a student based on … political or religious beliefs”) with any argument what so ever.

        grab the smelling salts, he’s stunned.

        you know what this reminds me of. remember that jewish teenager who didn’t answer a question on her SAT’s about refugees because the question required her reading a paragraph written by Mahmoud Darwish and writing a little essay?

        she was so stunned (she claimed) and hurt at the idea of Darwish referencing refugees (or ‘exile’ perhaps) given that she was jewish, one time refugees (something along that line). and it made the news all over the country!!!

        she too was stunned at the level of inappropriateness of the SAT! lol in fact i think she was demanding the test be re written or something. or the question removed because it unfairly effected jewish kids taking the test, possibly throwing them into fits of despair. (i’m exaggerating somewhat, but not much)

      • Gene Shae
        August 20, 2014, 10:02 pm

        The professor said the following:
        If you’re defending Israel right now you’re an awful human being’ and ‘Zionist uplift in America: every little Jewish boy and girl can grow up to be the leader of a murderous colonial regime’.

        To me, this shows that it is dangerous for him to impact the academic lives of students as he would be challenged to separate his personal views from the responsibilities of being a professor. I think that he would be prone to brassiness against his students and become a detriment to the diverse community. The University agrees and that is a good thing.

        This is much different from banning anti-communist speech to avoid making a communist student feel uncomfortable.

      • Citizen
        August 20, 2014, 11:12 pm

        @ Gene Shae
        If the professor had tweeted the same about those supporting US government conduct in the Middle East nobody would’ve said a thing.

        How is it “much different” than making a communist student uncomfortable?

        The professor’s academic record, including student evaluations, overwhelmingly suggest he is an expert in his field and has never made any of his students feel uncomfortable.

        Twitter is not the classroom. It’s a public forum for anybody to speak out on what bothers them and what they like.

        You make no sense.

      • Philip Munger
        August 21, 2014, 12:53 am

        Nine years ago, I had a young woman in my music history class who was an excellent student, but was a fundamentalist Christian of the young earth creationist variety. She came to my office in tears one morning. Paraphrasing:

        Her: Prof. Munger, could you possibly help me?”

        Me: Any time I can [she was a close friend of my daughter]

        Her: My anthropology professor is LYING to us!

        Me: Oh dear. What kind of lie?

        Her: He is saying the earth is BILLIONS OF YEARS OLD!!!

        Me: It most likely is.

        Her: Oooohh!

        Me: It isn’t to early to drop. Maybe you can take geology instead.

      • Philip Munger
        August 21, 2014, 1:05 am

        Six years ago, I had a student in my music history class who was an excellent student, but was a fundamentalist Christian of the young creationist variety. She came to my office in tears one morning. Paraphrasing:

        Her: Prof. Munger, could you possibly help me?”

        Me: Any time I can [she was a close friend of my daughter]

        Her: My anthropology professor is LYING to us!

        Me: Oh dear. What kind of lie?

        Her: He is saying the earth is BILLIONS OF YEARS OLD!!!

        Me: It most likely is.

        Her: Oooohh!

        Me: It isn’t to early to drop. Maybe you can take geology instead.

      • Mooser
        August 20, 2014, 8:19 pm

        Your comment, Gene Shae, is stunning in its level of double-talk and meaninglessness.

      • Elliot
        August 20, 2014, 10:54 pm

        At the beginning of the Iraq war, do you think the statement: “If you are defending Iraq right now, you are an awful human being” would have raised any eyebrows?
        The second statement has no parallel because the Jewish State is such an anomaly. But the characterization of Israel as “a murderous, colonial regime” is not unfair. Prof. Salaita does not attack Jews or Israelis. So no Jews or Israelis should feel uncomfortable unless they support Israel’s policies. Even so, they should be able to separate the classroom from Twitter as Prof. Salaita does.

        Prof. Salaita has never previously been prone to brassiness and there is no reason to think that moving to Champagne-Urbana will make bring out any latent brassiness. Looks to me like he is prone to speaking his mind on Twitter on topical issues. Isn’t that what Twitter is for?

      • Tuyzentfloot
        August 21, 2014, 6:44 am

        [Philip Munger says:]Me: It most likely is.

        Here, you’re not hedging are you :)

      • traintosiberia
        August 20, 2014, 11:04 pm

        This example will clarify .Some of the students would experience myriad and uncomfortable emotions in class rooms, if the parents of these students were accused of pedophilia or rapes or drug dealings or war crimes or cheating at examinations or taking bribes or stealing properties or working with extortionists in the past or currently being accused of all of those after being exposed to lectures on ethics,human rights,campaign against violence ,on corruption ,on fairness,on immorality of undue advantages and the application of the rules of the laws . Some of them might unfortunately feel threatened if the connections got exposed .
        Does it mean that the subjects won’t be taught ? Does it mean that the students should boycott the classes and agitate against the teachers?
        The Jewish students have no more legal or moral rights than these students would have had in denouncing the classes .

      • traintosiberia
        August 20, 2014, 11:35 pm

        When does personal believe become accepted near universal belief? Was the struggle against Nazism absent from academy in 1933 ? Was the criticism of Nazism disallowed in the administration or the cabinet of Roosevelt or in the Congress or in the public events or spaces ?
        Does anybody hold any position in college or school or government for openly having extreme views on Iran? Did Bernard Lewis lose the position in Princeton after advocating genocidal attack on Iran? That view of attacking Iran has taken 10 – 15 yrs to become somewhat universal within certain elite in the miLitary ,academy,media,or political circles .
        But advocating attacks against Iraq ,Libya,Syria,Iran have been in the works long before it became accepted piece of behaviors. Obviously Muslims,Arabs,Iranians felt threatened and obviously they were exposed to racist taunts and attacks . While Iran has never done nothing ,neither did Libya or Syria ( until 2011) , Israel has done a lot to earn the opprobrium and the criticism .
        Universities should ask or should have asked Pipes or Dershowotz or Summer to leave for the same reason since they failed to keep their personal beliefs and faiths and attraction to Israel,a jews,Judaism from the academic and administrative responsibilities that would have caused attitudinal problems to Muslims and would have caused discomfort to the Muslims. Similar extreme views were common among the Republican hopefuls and should not be allowed to compete for presidential office that affect retain sections of the citizen.

      • just
        August 20, 2014, 11:49 pm

        well said, traintosiberia.

        (psst– Afghanistan.)

      • traintosiberia
        August 21, 2014, 12:09 am


    • Stephen Shenfield
      August 20, 2014, 8:27 pm

      Good point, lysias. Whatever a professor might say on any controversial topic, it is bound to discomfort (or offend or upset) someone. It is impossible to talk in a way that complies with the rule never to discomfort anyone. As the saying goes, “you can’t please everyone, so you might as well please yourself.”

      So the implicit rule is really: do not discomfort people of a certain kind. To be more specific, I think it means: do not discomfort people with conventional views. People with unconventional views such as your communist student (or it could be a socialist, anarchist, satanist, etc.) are routinely discomforted and no one gives a damn. It is a sort of class system.

      I am unsure about JeffB’s claim that the “comfortable” norm has its origin in protests against hostile work environments. It doesn’t seem to me an adequate explanation. If he is right, then the original meaning of the norm has been extended almost beyond recognition. Bullying, insulting or humiliating people is hardly the same as politely and respectfully challenging their opinions.

      • just
        August 20, 2014, 11:57 pm

        good comment, Stephen.

        “politely and respectfully challenging their opinions.”

        isn’t that what education is all about? I mean, why would anybody want to go spend thousands to be with “Stepford” people? What would be the point? Where’s the value? It’s a gruesome concept– especially when billions are invested in the MIC “over there” and so many here don’t know the history, the geography or the culture “over there”!

      • Mooser
        August 21, 2014, 6:54 pm

        “If he is right”

        If JeffB is right? Like that’s going to happen! It’s a standard Right Wing talking point, and no, it’s not true, at all. It’s standard everything-is-the-fault-of-civil-rights stuff.
        Gosh, what an odious lot these ‘have a glass tea’ party Zionists are.

  9. chris_k
    August 20, 2014, 4:30 pm

    The University of Illinois is now defaming his character and professionalism.

    What I find most chilling about this is the timing, though it would be inexcusable bigotry any time. The people who are against him and the people who go along with those people have not felt anything for the victims of the Gaza attacks, and instead get right to work punishing dissent against ethnic cleansing further.

  10. John Douglas
    August 20, 2014, 9:00 pm

    So Cary Nelson never made a student “uncomfortable?” Never prospected for ideas and assumptions that his students held uncritically yet relied upon to make their lives “comfortable” and argued against them? I recall a freshman student proposing that slavery in the U.S. was not really a bad thing because without it the Africans would not have been introduced to Jesus. Would professor Nelson respond with, “Good job, Charles. I see your point.” I’ve noticed that when people create giant rationalizations to buttress their near and dear but false ideas, they often come off saying very stupid things. I’ve noticed too that the first step in suppressing ideas on campuses is to paint a condescending picture of childish, over-sensitive students who should be protected at all cost.

  11. SQ Debris
    August 20, 2014, 9:32 pm

    Not only did the search committee offer Salaita an appointment, they offered it WITH TENURE. That is no halfway measure. It means they were begging him to relinquish tenure at another institution and bring his talents to UI. This Wise person is completely off-the-chain (as in your rabid pitbull is touring the neighborhood). There’s .zero chance of a reversal of her decision, but the embarrassment she has caused her institution will probably lead her to .. new opportunities elsewhere.

  12. Pixel
    August 20, 2014, 10:53 pm

    Tithi, Bill…


    Please don’t let this go…

    • hophmi
      August 21, 2014, 9:47 pm

      There is still not a scrap of evidence that Chancellor Wise acted at the behest of pro-Israel groups. It is the reverse of what you say. The anti-Israel orientation of so many Salaita supporters and their failure to speak out against the violation of academic freedom of Israeli academics by those in the BDS movement or the academic freedom of conservative professors who have been disciplined for speech made outside of the classroom plainly indicates that their support of Salaita is wholly political.

  13. Mooser
    August 21, 2014, 10:36 pm

    “academic freedom of conservative professors who have been disciplined for speech made outside of the classroom”

    I’m sorry, Hophmi, I don’t see the links substantiating the abridgement of “academic freedom of conservative professors who have been disciplined for speech made outside of the classroom”. Who are these terribly wronged academicians? Please tell us, so we can be outraged along with you at the oppression of “conservative professors”!!

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