Salaita Sues U. of Illinois Over Rescinded Job Offer
Steven Salaita filed a federal lawsuit today against the University of Illinois trustees who voted to rescind his offer of a professorship at the university, top university officials, and the donors who he claims purposefully influenced their decision.
Shortly before classes were due to start last fall, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Chancellor Phyllis Wise told Salaita that she would not have the Board of Trustees consider his appointment, a step many argued was a mere formality in the hiring process. An email statement from Wise made clear that she was motivated by what she characterized as “disrespectful words”—several comments about Israel that Salaita had posted to his personal Twitter account. FIRE and other free speech advocates objected, arguing that mandating civility is not consistent with First Amendment principles and can chill discussion on a wide range of topics.