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The Barbaric Academic Boicote to Freedom of Speech

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posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 09:11 AM
Bringing to your attention the Steven Salaita story:

Salaita was offered at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus a job offer last October. He was set to begin Aug. 16, with a tenured position in the American Indian studies program.

According to the Oct. 3 offer letter from Brian Ross, U. of I.’s interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:
- “Please let me express my sincere enthusiasm about your joining us"
- "The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a wonderfully supportive community, and it has always taken a high interest in its newcomers. I feel sure that your career can flourish here, and I hope earnestly that you will accept our invitation."

For a press conference Steven Salaita, September 9, 2014 at University of Illinois said:

In preparation for my new position, I resigned my tenured position at Virginia Tech; my wife resigned her professional position at the University as well. We got rid of our Virginia home and took on considerable expense in preparation for our move here.

Two weeks before his start date, and without any warning, he received a summary letter from University Chancellor Phyllis Wise informing that his position was terminated, but with no explanation or opportunity to challenge her unilateral decision.

Here's Chancellor Wise statement:

We believe that an affirmative Board vote approving your appointment is unlikely,”. “We therefore will not be in a position to appoint you to the faculty ... Thank you for your interest in and consideration of the University of Illinois.”

As a result, Salaita family has no income, no health insurance, and no home of their own. Their young son has been left without a preschool.

In recent statements, Chancellor Wise and the Board of Trustees said that the University Administration found the tone of Salaita tweets “uncivil” and raised questions about his ability to inhabit the University environment.

You can check Salaita twittes here: twitter

On June 20, soon after three Israelis were kidnapped and killed, he wrote: You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not: I wish all the (expletive) West Bank settlers would go missing.” On July 22, he wrote: “#Israel kills civilians faster than the speed of 4G.”

Emails recently released under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act revealed pressure by major donors – including one who referred to himself as “a multiple 6 figure donor” – on Chancellor Phyllis Wise to terminate Salaita’s appointment after the tweets.

The case has galvanized many in the academic community, including the Modern Language Association, the American Association of University Professors, and the American Studies Association, who have come out strongly against the University’s actions.
Over 5000 Scholars Boycotting the UIUC

Speaking on Democracy Now! on Tuesday, Columbia Law professor Katherine Franke explained how the call for “civility” is antithetical to the roll of the academic. She said:

“civility norm,”(..) "undermines what it is we do as academics, which is to think hard and, often in uncomfortable ways, about our settled ideas and settled sense of what we know in the world.

And added:

The executive, in this case the Chancellor, sees herself as responsible to investors or donors more than she does to constituency on campus, the academics and students. (..) perhaps to do things that are unpopular, that challenge what your donors think is the right way in which you should be thinking about particular problems


Steven Salaita wrote for the press conference:

Universities are meant to be cauldrons of critical thinking; they are meant to foster creative inquiry and, when at their best, challenge political, economic, or social orthodoxy. (..) Tenure – a concept that is well over a hundred years old – is supposed to be an ironclad guarantee that University officials respect these ideals and do not succumb to financial pressure or political expediency by silencing controversial or unpopular views.

During this challenging time, I am deeply grateful to the many hundreds of people and prominent organizations who have raised their voices in defense of the principles of academic freedom, including the nearly 18,000 individuals who have signed a petition demanding corrective action and the numerous faculty around the world who are boycotting the University until I am reinstated.

Isn't this an example of blatant discrimination and a violation of the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom to dissent?

edit on 10/9/2014 by voyger2 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 10:58 AM
a reply to: voyger2
If the employer has acted legally then it is unfortunate for the guy. That is always the danger of public expression in personal life which can be identified or linked with an employer.
I expect many replies here will support company rules above everything else as usual, but I would only consider the law. If the university acted within the law then it is the law which the guy should be angry with when he chose to go public on Twatter with his opinions. No employer wants hassle for employing someone, but if the law was not broken by the employer it is a tough lesson for the employee.

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 11:17 AM
Freedom speech protects one from the government not employers. Universities tend to be much more liberal on employees who make controversial statements unless it does some direct harm to them. In this case it threatened money from donors and that trumps everything else for them. Keep the guy and lose funding? Nope, not going to happen. And any money this ends up costing the school will no doubt be made up by the donors who did not want him. So this is pretty much a no brainer for them. People who are not smart enough to use social media should stay off of it. Getting canned for things said on it is not something new nor should it be any suprise.

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 02:12 PM
Thomas Sowell, a hero of mine, once wrote:

The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.

You're late to the issue. Conservative professors have been fired, not hired, or denied tenure for years. 5000 professors don't come out to support them.

This is simply a case that, for once, liberal views didn't get automatic acceptance at a university. The Chancellor put economics ahead of political correctness and is now paying for it. That'll teach her, and anybody else in a position of authority, to do something like that again.

Academic freedom? Ha. This isn't about academic freedom. Universities aren't about academic freedom. Not any more.

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 04:17 PM
I will tell you guys this:
a reply to: charles1952
a reply to: grainofsand

specially to
reply to: MrSpad

I'm not here for the legals, I leave that for the specialists and for sure there are lot's of evidence..

Nevertheless, if the comments were in support of the criminal acts of the Isreal government, of course We would not be having this conversation. Think on that.

Now, Mrspad, about the money for the "university company" operation I will let you think on this statement from Law professor Katherine Franke:

A university is not just a business where you have a bottom line that satisfies a board of directors every year like other businesses, we have a particular mission at a university—perhaps to do things that are unpopular, that challenge what your donors think is the right way in which you should be thinking about particular problems.”

If you’re not doing that,you’re not running a university. You’re running some other sort of ideological machine.”

Charles 1952 I agree when you say:

The Chancellor put economics ahead of political correctness and is now paying for it. That'll teach her, and anybody else in a position of authority, to do something like that again.

These kind of people don't have any Honor, they invited him and now from a subjective and bias point of view, where money talked higher,they left this guy and his family on the street's.

edit on 10/9/2014 by voyger2 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 05:15 PM
The press conference:

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 06:25 PM
The young Turks resume:

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 09:20 PM
Political correctness is a often misused term.

basically it's fluid, and is the correct thing for you to say to an audience.

sarah palin is a politically correct conservative, because she denounces political correctness.

but in more serious news, this sort of thing is problematic for this modern age. Opinions that might have once only been shared amongst friends, are now viewable by those who might have a conflict of interest with them.

posted on Nov, 13 2015 @ 08:52 AM
This is just an update.

It comes to prove he was right all along and that his freedom of speech was in fact boycotted at time, after Gaza assault by Israel.

Settlement Reached in Case of Professor Fired for “Uncivil” Tweets

Professor Salaita, said:
«This settlement is a vindication for me, but more importantly, it is a victory for academic freedom and the First Amendment»

Professor Salaita sued UIUC, the university Board of Trustees and high-level administrators for violating his First Amendment right to free speech and for breach of contract. Salaita’s firing became a flashpoint for debates over academic freedom, free speech, and the repression of Palestinian rights advocacy. In exchange for Professor Salaita’s agreement to release his claims, the university has agreed to pay $875,000.

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