Breaking News! Wise to Forward Salaita Appointment to Trustees! Updated

by Corey Robin on September 2, 2014

We are getting reports out of the University of Illinois that Chancellor Wise is going to forward the Salaita appointment to the Board of Trustees for a vote on September 11. A group of Gender and Women’s Studies students reports the following:

From GWS Undergraduate Stephanie Skora’s report back on meeting with Chancellor Wise on Monday, September 1, 2014:


The meeting with Chancellor Wise was a success, and we have gained some valuable information and commitments from the Chancellor!


We have discovered that the Chancellor HAS FORWARDED Professor Salaita’s appointment to the Board of Trustees, and they will be voting on his appointment during the Board of Trustees Meeting on September 11th, on the UIUC campus! Our immediate future organizational efforts will focus around speaking at, and appearing at, this Board of Trustees meeting. We will be attempting to appear during the public comment section of the Board of Trustees meeting, as well as secure a longer presentation to educate them on the issues about which Professor Salaita tweeted. Additionally, we are going to attempt to ensure that the Board of Trustees consults with a cultural expert on Palestine, who can explain and educate them about the issues and the context surrounding Professor Salaita’s tweets. It has been made clear to us that the politics of the Board of Trustees is being allowed to dictate the course of the University, and that the misinformation and personal views of the members of the Board are being allowed to tell the students who is allowed to teach us, regardless of who we say that we want as our educators. We will not let this go unchallenged.


Additionally, Chancellor Wise has agreed to several parts of our demands, and has agreed upon a timeline under which she will take steps to address them. The ball is currently in her court, but we take her agreements as a gesture of good faith and of an attempt to rebuild trust between the University administration and the student body. She has not agreed unilaterally to our demands, and but we have made an important first step in our commitment to reinstating Professor Salaita. In terms of his actual reinstatement, the power to make that decision is not hers. This is why we have shifted the target of our efforts to the Board of Trustees, because they alone have the power to reinstate and approve Professor Salaita’s appointment at the University. In regards to the rest of our demands, which we have updated to reflect the town hall meeting, we have made progress on all of those, but continue to emphasize that it is unacceptable to meet any of our demands without first reinstating Professor Salaita.


We have made progress, but we all have a LOT of work left to do. We must organize, write to the Board of Trustees, and make our voices and our presences known. We will not be silent on September 11th, and we will not stop in our efforts to reinstate Professor Salaita, regardless of what the Board of Trustees decides.


Please keep organizing, please keep making your voices heard, and please‪#‎supportSalaita‬!


Also, feel free to message or comment with any questions, comments, or concerns.


Assuming the report is accurate, I can think of two interpretations of what it means.

If the UIUC is thinking politically, it would be an absolute disaster for them to open this can of worms, to act as if Salaita’s appointment is now a real possibility, to raise expectations for two weeks or so, to encourage all the organizing this will encourage (I can imagine the phone calls and emails that will now start pouring into the Board of Trustees), only to have the Board vote Salaita down. From a political perspective, this would be a disaster for the university. The strongest weapon the UIUC has always had is the sense that this is a done deal, that they will not budge, that we can raise all the ruckus we want, but they simply don’t care. Opening the decision up again calls that into question. Where does this line of reasoning lead us? To the possibility that the UIUC Trustees will vote to appoint Salaita on September 11, throw Chancellor Wise under the bus (remember, the Executive Committee that upheld her decision is only comprised of three Trustees, not the full Board)*, and say it was all a misunderstanding wrought by an incompetent chancellor. Who’ll then be pushed out within a year. The advantage of this approach is that it will effectively bring this story to a close. There will be angry donors, but everything I’ve ever read and experienced about that crew suggests that their bark is often worse than their bite. The ongoing atmosphere of crisis and ungovernability on campus is not something any university leader can bear for too long, and this threatens to go on for a very long time.

The other possibility is that the UIUC is thinking legally. One of the many weak links in their legal case was that Wise never forwarded Salaita’s appointment to the Board of Trustees for a vote. She basically did a pocket veto. Salaita’s offer letter stated that his appointment was subject to approval by the Board of Trustees, but Wise effectively never allowed the Board to approve or disapprove. So the UIUC’s lawyers could have decided that the better thing to do would be simply to carry out the full deed.

Many questions remain, not least of which is how accurate is this report. Stay tuned. But assuming the report is true, we have to operate on the assumption that the first interpretation is a very real possibility and that we have a lot of work to do in the next ten days.

*John Wilson reminds me in this post that all the members of the Board did sign a letter supporting Wise’s position, which I had forgotten about.

Update (11:15 pm)

Just to clarify my blog post: Like all of us, I have no idea what Wise and the Board are thinking (though we can assume that they are making this decision together). But while I think we have to be as strategic and smart about this as possible (fyi: John Wilson thinks I’m wrong; he may have a point), and gather as much information as we can, there’s always a tendency in these situations to play armchair strategist, to try and read the tea leaves, to figure out the pattern of power, as if we didn’t have hand or a role in shaping that pattern of power. Particularly when questions of law get involved (in a country of lawyers, Louis Hartz reminded us, every philosophical question is turned into a legal claim.) We have to resist that tendency. We have to treat this announcement, assuming it’s true, as a golden opportunity. To use the next 10 days as a chance to shift the balance of power on the ground. Remember the Board will be meeting and voting on campus. There are students, faculty, and activists on and around that campus. That’s an opportunity. Remember these trustees are individuals who can be called and emailed round the clock. That’s an opportunity. Between now and 9/11 (they really chose that date), let’s be mindful of the constraints, but also be thinking, always, in terms of opportunities.

{ 43 comments }

1

Ligurio 09.02.14 at 3:58 am

It might be nice to have listed the email addresses of the trustees, as well as a short template suggesting how one might concisely (and civilly! ha) convey one’s views about Salaita’s wrongful termination. (Not that you haven’t done enough already!)

2

Murc 09.02.14 at 4:09 am

Is it wrong that I think the strategy outlined in the quoted text is slightly wrong-headed?

To wit, this:

We will be attempting to appear during the public comment section of the Board of Trustees meeting, as well as secure a longer presentation to educate them on the issues about which Professor Salaita tweeted. Additionally, we are going to attempt to ensure that the Board of Trustees consults with a cultural expert on Palestine, who can explain and educate them about the issues and the context surrounding Professor Salaita’s tweets.

Seems like it concedes far, far too much. It acts like this is an actual, formal part of the ob interview process, that Salaita’s hiring wasn’t essentially a done deal and there only needed to be a rubber stamp.

You don’t play on your enemies turf unless you have no choice, and the Chancellor and at least some of the Trustees have that turf clearly staked out. They want to have an argument about the content of Salaita’s speech and whether or not they should hire him because of it. They want to act like this is all part of ongoing hiring process.

Which completely elides the point that he was already hired. He was scheduled to teach classes! The approval of the trustees was a mere formality, and I’m reasonably certain they can procude whole mountains of witnesses, from other professors and other trustees at this and other universities to confirm that fact. Should he suddenly and precipitously be kicked to the curb, the trustees are going to be put in the position of having to meet a lot more often than they currently do, because no sane professor is going to agree to quit their job and relocate across the country if their hire won’t be “firm” for a month after they begin their work. Indeed, one would expect the ripples to propagate across all of academia were that to suddenly become the case.

That’s the ground you want to fight on.

Or it seems like it to me, anyway. I could be wrong. I’m wrong a lot!

3

Colin Danby 09.02.14 at 4:25 am

Yep, given that the whole board, just over a week ago, signed a public letter endorsing “the university’s decision not to recommend Prof. Steven Salaita,” and supporting Wise’s Orwellian doctrine that you protect speech by policing it, there would be a whole lot of climbing-down to do to reverse themselves. It’s fascinating, in an appalling kind of way, because the doctrine that you cannot demean a point of view is *much* broader than what you’d need if you just wanted to defenestrate this individual.

4

js. 09.02.14 at 4:30 am

Murc @1:

I hadn’t thought of it that way, but your reasoning seems sound to me.

In any case, this is great news. If nothing else, it very strongly suggests that the pressure brought to bear on UI, through letters, boycotts, votes of no confidence, etc., has had a very real effect. Cheers to Corey and others who have really worked to make UI feel the pressure.

5

js. 09.02.14 at 4:36 am

the doctrine that you cannot demean a point of view

Although: can you demean a point of view? It occurs to me that maybe you really cannot. Perhaps Chancellor Wise speaks the truth after all!

6

J Thomas 09.02.14 at 5:28 am

#1 Murc

Since there isn’t one organization making deals with the board of trustees, you haven’t conceded anything if a bunch of individuals tries to persuade the board not to vote wrong. The legal case will be unchanged, etc.

It doesn’t seem to me plausible that the board would reverse their stand, but imagine they do. Are people going to be sore winners? Chide them for being wishy-washy? Is it necessary even to hold a grudge against Wise? She did what she thought she had to given undisclosed communications from members of the board etc. She doesn’t have to do that after all, so she can admit that she had misgivings about it all along, and she’s happy with the new outcome, and why should she have to worry about reprisals except from the people who threatened her in the first place?

If they do a 180 they only look bad to the people who wanted them to fire him. If they say they have seen what’s right, will people think they bent under pressure and try to pressure them extra? Maybe, but at this point it looks that way whatever they do. To people who want to see it like that. They can maintain that they aren’t pressured, they changed their minds about what’s right. Somebody openly trying to persuade them gives them more cover for that claim.

I think it does no harm to try all strategies at once. Unless trying one approach and failing gets people too discouraged for the next one that could win something.

7

Z 09.02.14 at 9:31 am

This is really great news! Kudos, Corey, for your organizing efforts. Now I agree that a civil e-mail reminding each members of the boards that once the teaching schedules have been sent, approval by the Board of Trustees should be a formality and disapproval should be motivated with factual evidence.

I also agree with Murc: the optimal strategy is probably to play up the institutional (and legal) framework and play down the contents of the tweets.

8

Neil Schipper 09.02.14 at 11:42 am

There have been so many comments on prior Salaita related threads with in-depth explorations of esoteric legal questions, and I’m anticipating a lot of complex strategic analysis just now.

Why bother with all the complicated, nuanced, intricate argumentation? (And are blog comments even the appropriate medium for communicating the main ideas?)

Far better to presume, with total self-righteousness, that everyone that’s good and smart agrees with your POV entirely. Then, you can issue effective commentary, in continuous short bursts, like this:

===

I hate waking up only to realize that the UIUC Board of Trustees still exists.

While Salaita’s future hangs in the balance, the UIUC BoT are engaged in protracted struggle over who can buy the biggest yacht.

The UIUC spokesperson receives money to justify, conceal, and glamorize the firing of professors. Goebbels much?

Supporting UIUC puts you in company of Republicans with sexual fantasies about killing Muslims. Enjoy your new buddies, promissory estoppel theory deniers.

I don’t give two fucks what the “UIUC” policy says. The BoT ALREADY destroyed academic freedom and is destroying Salaita right now.

Chancellor Wise fires tenured hires and blames it on her Board. Psychiatry hasn’t yet accounted for this sort of derangement.

The trustees dislike it when people call UIUC devoid of integrity. It must really anger them when somebody describes water as translucent.

Instead of whining–which, to be fair, is Chancellor Wise’s oxygen–trustees should be glad I called them “trolls,” the kindest word I can muster.

Do you have to visit your physician for prolonged erections when you see pictures of fired professors from UIUC?

What do you say to the children of the professors you have fired?

The logic of “contract law denialism” deployed by UIUC, if applied in principle, would make pretty much everybody not a sociopath a “contract law denialist.”

====

(The above pseudo-tweets are based on approx. half of the tweets by Steven Salaita on the single day July 16.)

So, you just keep firing out message like these every day. (Actually, they’re quite fun to compose.)

Then, you win.

9

Barry 09.02.14 at 12:14 pm

J Thomas: “It doesn’t seem to me plausible that the board would reverse their stand, but imagine they do. Are people going to be sore winners? Chide them for being wishy-washy? Is it necessary even to hold a grudge against Wise? She did what she thought she had to given undisclosed communications from members of the board etc. She doesn’t have to do that after all, so she can admit that she had misgivings about it all along, and she’s happy with the new outcome, and why should she have to worry about reprisals except from the people who threatened her in the first place?

If they do a 180 they only look bad to the people who wanted them to fire him. If they say they have seen what’s right, will people think they bent under pressure and try to pressure them extra? Maybe, but at this point it looks that way whatever they do. To people who want to see it like that. They can maintain that they aren’t pressured, they changed their minds about what’s right. Somebody openly trying to persuade them gives them more cover for that claim.”

Perhaps I’m being harsh, but your first paragraph strikes me as concern trolling, especially since it’s clear that there is no good faith on the university’s part.
your second paragraph for some reason misses the fact that these anonymous people influencing the outcome are major donors, who have a very large voice.

10

J Thomas 09.02.14 at 12:51 pm

#8 Barry

Perhaps I’m being harsh, but your first paragraph strikes me as concern trolling, especially since it’s clear that there is no good faith on the university’s part.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that the university administration plus board consists of amoral opportunists who have no honor of any sort, who will bend to whoever applies the most pressure.

Suppose that they have balanced the scales and they think they are best off to reinstate Salaita. At that point shouldn’t we pretend that they are noble and honest and they have seen the light? We can call off the boycotts. We can accept that they have not changed the precedents about academic freedom. Everything goes back to the status quo and everybody’s happy except the zionists who want Salaita to be unemployable and destitute. What’s wrong with that?

If they think they won’t be forgiven if they give in, why would they give in?

your second paragraph for some reason misses the fact that these anonymous people influencing the outcome are major donors, who have a very large voice.

It’s definitely potential major donors. We don’t know yet that it’s actual major donors who have already donated significant amounts. Anybody who has considerable money is a potential major donor, but obeying potential donors gives you a possible reward, not a certain punishment.

If the board feels they have too much to lose by kicking Salaita out, maybe they will vote to approve. It doesn’t look likely to me given what I know so far, but I can’t say it’s impossible.

One reason for them to stick to their guns is that if they cave in to pressure, other people will think they can be pressured and will try to pressure them more. But they have lost that one already. Anybody who thinks they are bowing to pressure if they reinstate Salaita, will also think they bowed to pressure to fire him. They have already lost that battle. Anybody who’s susceptible to thinking they will cravenly yield if pressured, already thinks that. So this is not a reason to stand firm now. But they might think it is.

11

AcademicLurker 09.02.14 at 1:50 pm

J Thomas@9: I haven’t heard anyone suggesting that the boycotts and other activism should be continued if Salaita is reinstated.

I think it’s worth emphasizing that no one is requesting that the university take any kind of extraordinary action. The university administration itself departed from all known and established practices for senior hires to an extraordinary degree. So I don’t really think that the logic “If we succeed in demanding this, we should press our advantage and demand even more” applies. All people are asking is for the UIUC to follow its own well established practices.

12

Main Street Muse 09.02.14 at 2:06 pm

In my limited experience as contingent faculty at a university, all I know is that I have no idea how administrators think, strategize, decide on what to do. Tea leaves are about the best source of what could or could not happen at that BOT meeting. Educated guesses would not work in this situation.

What list of demands has the chancellor agreed to discuss?

Agree with Murc that this is a due process issue and debating the content of his tweets is not a good approach. He was hired. He had tenure. The BOT was to rubber-stamp the hiring of someone the university had set up to teach classes that started well before the board was scheduled to meet.

Was 9/11 – that day that we remember as covered in ashes and mourning – always the day the BOT was to meet to discuss Salaita’s appointment? If not, an unfortunate decision to move the meeting to this particular date. What were they thinking?!

13

J Thomas 09.02.14 at 2:29 pm

#11 Muse

Agree with Murc that this is a due process issue and debating the content of his tweets is not a good approach. He was hired. He had tenure. The BOT was to rubber-stamp the hiring of someone the university had set up to teach classes that started well before the board was scheduled to meet.

Of course we are kibitzers, who don’t get to decide what the Gender and Women’s Studies students should do.

But it looks to me like the main opposing viewpoint is that the board (or Wise) took extraordinary action because they thought they were preventing a horrible mistake. They were being told that Salaita was an antisemite who said things like “Antisemitism is respectable now”. They were taking unprecedented actions because it was the only way to prevent a truly terrible result.

If they really believe that, then evidence that it isn’t so horrible would help a lot.

If they pretend to believe that, but they are really balancing other concerns, then evidence that it isn’t so horrible gives them an excuse to change their minds on the official reasoning. If they want an excuse to do that.

If they truly believe that hiring Salaita was a horrible mistake, they are likely to think that the problems of a lawsuit etc are less than the problems they would get having him representing the university for life. Persuading them otherwise would be necessary.

Of course, they might not listen. Or maybe the fix is in. But I don’t see that it does any harm to argue that Salaita is not in fact the devil.

14

J— 09.02.14 at 2:35 pm

Looking at the board’s schedule, I would guess this meeting date was already set. Second Thursday of the month, every other month, appears to be the pattern. See September 2015, for example.

15

mud man 09.02.14 at 2:51 pm

@#2, et all … Refusing to talk to people because they already don’t agree with you seems poor strategy to me, esp. if you’re looking for Real Change rather than a favorable result in admin. court. Academic freedom is about consensus and not authority, as I understand it. Use freedom to be free.

16

Miriam 09.02.14 at 3:42 pm

Ted Underwood reports on Twitter that optimism was premature: https://twitter.com/Ted_Underwood/status/506826669311918080

17

Andrew F. 09.02.14 at 3:58 pm

I think that this affair went adversarial much too quickly, and that the Board is simply fortifying its position. This is an opportunity for it to formally consider the appointment, to document its considerations, and to vote for disapproval based on those documented considerations.

The first step in addressing the Chancellor, and Board, should have been an effort at persuasion. Professor Salaita had been painted in a particular light; show the evidence that paints him differently.

Instead the question of whether the Chancellor and Board had the authority at all to do this was immediately made prominent. This is a position to which the the Board – and not without reason – will be instinctively hostile. A line of effort based on this is essentially one of overwhelming the Board with a credible legal case and the threat of academic damage to their institution unless they comply.

Unfortunately, the legal case is not credible (I’ve read Leiter’s post – his colleagues are very much mistaken), and if one assumes that the Board truly believes they have the proper authority to make this decision, then bowing to the threat of damage to their institution is probably unacceptable to them.

Once the Board votes against Salaita’s appointment, the best scenario for him legally is damages in the amount of what he would have earned at University of Illinois over the course of a year.

I think a likely settlement would be damages to Professor Salaita in that amount, along with health-care and other coverage for him and his family for the same duration he would have had if he had been working at the University.

Let me also say this. While I understand that the broader principles seen by many to be at stake here dictates that the attention be placed squarely upon the University of Illinois, I continue to believe that it is in Professor Salaita’s best interests for VT to reinstate him. I hope that actions are being contemplated, and taken, to make that possible.

18

Barry 09.02.14 at 4:33 pm

Colin Danby 09.02.14 at 4:25 am
” It’s fascinating, in an appalling kind of way, because the doctrine that you cannot demean a point of view is *much* broader than what you’d need if you just wanted to defenestrate this individual.”

First, it’s a power grab – the administration is trying to set a precedent that ‘civility’ gives them an excuse to discipline people. Second, they are letting people know that anti-Israeli statements are verboten.

19

Barry 09.02.14 at 4:33 pm

Andrew F. 09.02.14 at 3:58 pm
“I think that this affair went adversarial much too quickly, and that the Board is simply fortifying its position. This is an opportunity for it to formally consider the appointment, to document its considerations, and to vote for disapproval based on those documented considerations.”

Bullsh*t. The university reneged on a hiring – that’s rather adversarial.

20

JW Mason 09.02.14 at 4:51 pm

it’s a power grab – the administration is trying to set a precedent that ‘civility’ gives them an excuse to discipline people. Second, they are letting people know that anti-Israeli statements are verboten.

It would be interesting to know the relative importance of these two factors, but I don’t see how we can we can even guess without more information than we have now. I suppose this is how ideology works — the general notion that a university should be run “like a business” reinforces (and is reinforced by) the desire to make criticism of Israel off-limits, without anyone having to consciously say, hey, this is a great opportunity to take faculty self-governance down a peg.

Anyway, Corey is right, this is not the moment to speculate about what’s going on, it’s the moment to put maximum pressure on the board.

21

praisegod barebones 09.02.14 at 4:56 pm

I’m distressed by Barry’s lack of civility here. Perhaps it would have been more constructive for him to express his point of view in more nuanced and academic language. For example: ‘My considered and nuanced view is that that’s bullsh*t.’

22

Kaveh 09.02.14 at 5:09 pm

Would it make sense, at this point, for people to make clear to the board that the only acceptable action from their end is to approve Salaita? That doesn’t necessarily rule out also explaining why anti-Israel statements aren’t comparable to committing a felony, &c.

re the board’s motives, I agree that it doesn’t make sense to invest too much energy in speculating, that said, it seems to me that the board thought that Israel is an exceptional issue, and that reaction to Salaita’s firing would be muted because many people would see this as about Israel rather than about faculty governance, and thus not feel too threatened by it.

23

Jonathan Mayhew 09.02.14 at 5:35 pm

24

Allen Isaacman 09.02.14 at 5:36 pm

Judging from the reaction from my colleagues at the University of Minnesota to my response to withdraw from tone MillerComm lecture Series, there is a great deal of support for Salaita on our campus. Keep up the good work. You are fighting for academic freedom and freedom of speech for all of us. In solidarity,
Allen Isaacman
Regents Professor of History , UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Extraordinary Professor, University of Western Cape, South Africa

25

Lynne 09.02.14 at 5:46 pm

Thanks, Miriam and Jonathan, for the updates. As a non-academic, I don’t know what to think of the possible financial settlement—how would that affect Salaita’s career? This announcement, replete with Christopher Kennedy’s comments about how they “don’t want to hurt the guy” certainly seems incompatible with the students’ announcement above, unless the Board is to meet about the details of a financial settlement. I have no idea how that would work. If I were Salaita, my heart would be sinking right now.

26

Jonathan Mayhew 09.02.14 at 6:26 pm

Chances are we won’t know the terms of the settlement, which could be quite large. The university’s exposure is huge here, both financially and in terms of pr. I would guess that they don’t want to acknowledge they did anything wrong but would pay to make the problem go away. In turn, Salaita would have to agree not to say anything either. The boycott of UIUC would fade away if it were understood that the university had made things right with him, though leaving all of us with a bad taste in our mouth.

27

jkay 09.02.14 at 6:41 pm

My feeling is that Salaita’s Tweet was UNDERSTATED, because the Palestinians are being openly genocided as we comment. So I support you, and your work.

There is a J-Street to give to, a liberal AIPAC I’ve given to, though it’ll be decades before it can become as feared as AIPAC. You don’t need to be a Jew.

28

jkay 09.02.14 at 6:41 pm

My feeling is that Salaita’s Tweet was UNDERSTATED, because the Palestinians are being openly genocided as we comment. So I support you, and your work.

There is a J-Street to give to, a liberal AIPAC I’ve given to, though it’ll be decades before it can become as feared as AIPAC. You don’t need to be a Jew.

29

Joshua W. Burton 09.02.14 at 7:30 pm

jkay @25: There is a J-Street to give to

Steven Salaita, on J Street.

Steven Salaita, on midwestern universities:

I never quite took to Wisconsin, though, an exilic feeling attributable to things other than bad weather. Madison is a place that in numerous ways fails to fulfill the principles of its self-image. But at heart I am an Appalachian boy. I wanted to return home.

For an Appalachian boy weary of flat topography, Virginia Tech was an appealing career option.

And, to bring it back to J Street:

‘I’d rather clean toilets at Virginia Tech than toil in the very pretentious heart of liberal Zionism,’ I informed him, only slightly hyperbolically.

30

Joshua W. Burton 09.02.14 at 7:42 pm

“< hrf="https://lstngs.jbs.vt.d/pstngs/51297" rl="nfllw">Rvw f pplctns wll bgn n Sptmbr 11, 2014 nd cntn ntl ll pstns r flld.”

31

In the sky 09.02.14 at 7:48 pm

We will be attempting to appear during the public comment section of the Board of Trustees meeting, as well as secure a longer presentation to educate them on the issues about which Professor Salaita tweeted. Additionally, we are going to attempt to ensure that the Board of Trustees consults with a cultural expert on Palestine, who can explain and educate them about the issues and the context surrounding Professor Salaita’s tweets.

Am I the only one who has a visceral aversion to such use of “educate them”? It’s a creeping Orwellianism for “argue our political point”.

32

Joshua W. Burton 09.02.14 at 7:56 pm

In the sky @29: Am I the only one who has a visceral aversion to such use of “educate them”? It’s a creeping Orwellianism for “argue our political point”.

Not at all — it means “argue our political point while insulting them.” I don’t see anything Orwellian about it, unless you are invoking his name in defense of terse clarity, in the Strunk & White sense.

33

NomadUK 09.02.14 at 8:05 pm

I have no dog in this race, and I’m no academic, but it would have been nice if academia had shown the same spine when my (and many students’) favourite Roman history professor, Richard Berthold, was hounded out of his position at the University of New Mexico because he didn’t show the proper remorse when someone actually managed to give the Pentagon a taste of its own medicine.

34

John Garrett 09.02.14 at 8:33 pm

U. of Illinois. Market Basket. Seems to me there is something happening here, although what it is ain’t exactly clear. But for radicals, all good.

JG

35

JW Mason 09.02.14 at 9:18 pm

I just learned about Market Basket, when I was in Massachusetts last week. Quite a story. Has anything good been written on it?

36

John Garrett 09.02.14 at 10:11 pm

The Globe did a good series of articles detailing the complex family background as well as why Market Basket (like Costco) get so much loyalty from its customers and employees: an unusual combination of well paying jobs for the business, lots of attention to individual employees and their unique circumstances, high visibility and accessibility of senior management, and significantly lower prices than competitors. Their success attacks the assumption of so many employers that only be exploiting employees with few or no other options can you make a profit, especially as a low price option (hello, Walmart). Who’s next?

JG

37

Bernard Yomtov 09.03.14 at 1:06 am

Am I the only one who has a visceral aversion to such use of “educate them”?

No.

38

Mike Schilling 09.03.14 at 4:03 am

The date of the meeting is not the best omen.

39

Ze Kraggash 09.03.14 at 4:22 am

They should educate those trustees about all the bad things that may happen to them if they rule against Salaita. If any. Because obviously the trustees have already been educated about the bad things that will happen to them should they rule for him.

40

Corey Robin 09.04.14 at 4:14 pm

Chancellor Wise has now admitted that she did not consult as widely as she should have in the days leading up to her dehiring of Salaita. And she also admits that there’s something funky about officially hiring people to work and get paid before their appointments are approved by the Bot. Let’s hope she keeps talking. Every time she does, she provides more ammunition for the arguments I and other have been making.

http://coreyrobin.com/2014/09/04/chancellor-wise-speaks/

41

Brett Bellmore 09.04.14 at 4:24 pm

“And she also admits that there’s something funky about officially hiring people to work and get paid before their appointments are approved by the Bot.”

I think that’s a central problem here: Some people at U of I think the Board of Trustees is a rubber stamp. The Board of Trustees appears not to be agree with this.

I think Salaita, at a minimum, is owed some serious compensation, for being induced to take expensive actions when he hadn’t actually gotten the job yet. And that’s so even though he appears to be an intemperate creep whose views are already over-represented in academia. Even people like Salaita can be wronged.

I do question whether the compensation should extend to actually hiring him, though.

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Barry 09.04.14 at 5:05 pm

“I think Salaita, at a minimum, is owed some serious compensation, for being induced to take expensive actions when he hadn’t actually gotten the job yet. “

Mark your calendars; a rare alignment of Brett and Barry has occurred!

“And that’s so even though he appears to be an intemperate creep whose views are already over-represented in academia. “

Bullsh*t. If this was true, there’d have been no firing. What you might be confused by is the fact that in academia, it’s still possible to dissent from the usual establishment line, and keep one’s job.

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Brett Bellmore 09.04.14 at 6:00 pm

“If this was true, there’d have been no firing. “

I don’t think there WAS a firing. I think he was lied to about his hiring being final, because the BofT actually wasn’t the rubber stamp he was told they were.

It appears to me the donors are getting a bit restive about the extent to which anti-semitism/pro-Palestinianism dominates the institution, and didn’t see the need for any more piling on.

This isn’t to say that he wasn’t wronged, but I do think the merits of his hiring are being exagerated, to make the decision to “unhire” seem as though it was outrageous on the merits, and not just as to how it was carried out.

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