PSLS, CAIR-Chicago & NLG Chicago Respond to UIUC’s Termination of Steven Salaita
PSLS, with CAIR-Chicago and NLG Chicago submitted a letter to University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise today urging the University to reinstate Professor Steven Salaita. The University reneged on its appointment of Salaita after pro-Israel groups complained about his social media posts critical of Israel’s human rights abuses. The letter condemns the University’s decision, stating that it is in direct violation of Salaita’s free speech and academic freedom rights. The letter states:
UIUC’s dismissal of Salaita because his private tweets support Palestinian rights constitutes impermissible “viewpoint discrimination” – a violation of his First Amendment rights. As a public university, UIUC is required to adhere to First Amendment and academic freedom principles that protect the rights of faculty members to “speak or write as citizens,” and to be free from “institutional censorship or discipline.” It is also obligated to protect faculty’s academic freedom to decide collectively, as a department, under a university’s bylaws, to invite a respected colleague to join the department, as we understand to have happened in this case.
The letter also places the attack on Salaita in the context of other attacks on academics who express support for Palestinian rights.
To read the full letter, click here.
Numerous academic, civil rights and other organizations, including PSLS’s partner, the Center for Constitutional Rights, as well as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), and the Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism, have issued similar statements challenging the University’s decision.