“Considering the impossibility of criticizing Israel, [Steven] Salaita stated that academic freedom remains more of a myth than an actual possibility in modern universities.”–Conor McCarthy, co-organizer of the ‘Freedom of Speech and Higher Education: The case of the academic boycott of Israel’ conference.
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Students at the American University of Beirut have been organizing on campus since AUB President Fadlo Khuri canceled the hiring of Professor Steven Salaita based on accusations of ‘procedural irregularities’ during the hiring process. As a #StudentsforSalaita press release explained, “Students are concerned this controversy follows Salaita’s persecution at UIUC, as well as the changing perspectives within the administration on the legitimacy of pro-Palestinian scholars.”
Yesterday a settlement was announced in Professor Steven Salaita’s lawsuit against the University of Illinois for violating his academic freedom and right to free speech. Over 80 academics have responded by signing onto a letter saying: We are pleased that the University of Illinois trustees, through the payment of a substantial monetary settlement to Professor Salaita, have acknowledged how Professor Salaita’s termination amounted to a serious violation of both his constitutional right to free speech on matters of public concern, and principles of academic freedom. We recognize that UIUC’s unlawful treatment of Professor Salaita has had implications well beyond Professor Salaita individually. We feel strongly that the monetary settlement of Professor Salaita’s legal claim does not address the underlying breaches of academic freedom and widely accepted standards for the conduct of academic governance.
Rob Bryan reports from a New York City event for Steven Salaita’s new book “Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom” where the author expressed his unwavering solidarity with the activists fighting to end Israeli apartheid in the face of formidable barriers including restrictions on speech and the attempted blacklist of anti-Zionists.
A host of events featuring Arab and Palestinian authors in New York spaces signals a new cultural era in which the Palestinian voice cannot be marginalized.
The conflict is now central to the American left, as indicated by Haymarket’s six titles on Palestine in its fall 2015 list of books
Palestinian-American professor Steven Salaita was effectively fired from a tenured position in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2014 for tweets critical of Israel. On August 6, a federal court upheld a Salaita against the university lawsuit on free speech grounds, ruling that the professor’s tweets “implicate every ‘central concern’ of the First Amendment.” In the midst of this ruling, Phyllis Wise, who faced harsh backlash for overseeing Salaita’s firing, resigned from her positions as UIUC chancellor and vice president, in which she had served since 2011.
Dr. Cornel West has cancelled a high-profile lecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in support of a boycott of the university over the firing of Professor Steven Salaita. In a statement West said, “My change of mind in regard to my cancellation of my lecture constitutes a line in the sand I could not cross,. The case of my dear brother Professor Steven Salaita is a moral scandal of great proportion and the suffering of precious Palestinians under a vicious Israeli occupation is a crime against humanity, even in a world in which ugly anti-Jewish hatred escalates.”
Wealthy donors to the University of Illinois who demanded Steven Salaita’s head over the scholar’s outspoken tweets on the Gaza slaughter last summer– and got it — are now the unnamed defendants in a lawsuit he filed in federal court in Chicago.
Debunking the misreadings of the Salaita report and investigating the extent of donor influence in the decision to fire Steven Salaita.
Steven Salaita’s rude tweets served to change American society on the Gaza onslaught, which should have provoked moral outrage but did not, says UMass philosophy prof Joseph Levine
Steven Salaita writes the latest message in the series “What Mondoweiss Means To Me,” where leaders in the movement for justice in Israel/Palestine share why they value the work of Mondoweiss. Salaita writes, “Please join me in supporting Mondoweiss, a vital institution that amplifies voices for justice. As advocates of Palestinian human rights, we need Mondoweiss for arguments, facts and insights, and to make the world see, listen and understand.” We are asking Mondoweiss readers to help to raise $60,000 by December 31. Please donate, and tell us what Mondoweiss means to you.
34 department heads at the U of Illinois have written to the president that the unfair firing of Steven Salaita for outspokenness on Gaza has “damaged” the school because excellent scholars don’t trust it to honor free speech and will not come there to teach.
Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane spoke with scholar Steven Salaita last week at the end of his three-week speaking tour. Salaita was set to join the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign’s American Indian Studies program when a pro-Israel pressure campaign targeted him. Salaita’s contract with the university was terminated, and he has become a cause celebre for academic freedom advocates and Palestine solidarity activists. Now, Salaita and his lawyers have sued the university for not releasing emails that would shed light on how the decision to fire him was made.
Steven Salaita says that he was double trouble for a neoliberal corporation, the University of Illinois, because he studies not just Palestine but American native dispossession. He gave two speeches to overflow crowds in New York schools.
While Steven Salaita has received massive support from colleagues, students, community groups, and others in the US, what has received less attention is the support he has received from outside the US. This is extremely important, for as protests against Israel continue and in fact grow across the globe, one should understand that such acts of silencing resonate with those beyond US borders. Today it is clear that criticism of Israel is the issue, and that the significance of Salaita’s case is not limited to the US.
Steven Salaita’s book “Israel’s Dead Soul” (2011) merits serious attention and ultimately effusive praise. It contains five critical essays that not only offer brilliant insight into the cultural and ideological practices of Zionism in both Israel and the United States, but implicitly explain why his conscientious efforts would be denigrated and rejected by the ostensibly liberal aspects of this culture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
“My academic career was destroyed over gross mischaracterizations of a few [tweets,]. This is not only devastating to my family; it is a grave threat to faculty and students everywhere,” Steven Salaita writes. He became a symbol because of his support for BDS, he says.
“Elevating Anti-Semitism above other oppressions” and “Feeling powerless in the face of the silencing of Palestinian voices, like that of Professor Steven Salaita” are sins for which progressive Jews atone at Rosh Hashanah service in Champaign Urbana
Following the firing of Steven Salaita from his position at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), a group of Jewish faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members from UIUC issued a letter to Chancellor Phyllis Wise and the Board of Trustees. Now, the Jewish students, faculty and staff of UIUC who stand in solidarity with Steven Salaita seek support in reemphasizing and strengthening their message to the university administration.
As evidence the Salaita firing is a catastrophe for the University of Illinois keeps stacking up, the American Studies Association (ASA) issued a statement from their Executive Committee characterizing the UIUC administration’s decision to rescind the offer of tenured faculty position to Salaita’s as “a de facto assault against the Program in American Indian Studies at UIUC ” that sets a “dangerous precedence”.
Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen share five lessons they learned from the efforts to reinstate Steven Salaita at the University of Illinois. As they watched the protests over Salaita’s firing they saw protesters connecting the dots between Apartheid Israel and the violation of labor rights at home and realized that the protesters at UIUC were showing us the way to a new social movement that could constitute a fighting force against neoliberalism, both at home and abroad.
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees met today to vote on whether or not to reinstate Professor Steven Salaita to his position with the American Indian Studies department at UIUC. Despite a sizeable turnout of students, faculty and community members in support of Salaita’s reinstatement, the Board of Trustees voted not to reinstate Professor Salaita.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Professor Steven Salaita spoke publicly for the first time since the termination of his employment. His focused and powerful address emphasized one clear message: the reaffirmation of his “commitment to teaching and to a position with the American Indian Studies program at UIUC.” Salaita and his lawyers repeatedly insisted that their goal was not to pursue legal recourse against the university, but for the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees to reinstate his position. However, it was clear that he and his legal team are prepared to pursue legal avenues to force his reinstatement if necessary.
Today Steven Salatia spoke publicly for the first time since he was fired from the University of Illinois. Below is the prepared statement he read to a packed audience at a press conference on the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign campus along with some some tweets and photos from the day’s events.