The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has just issued a statement that it will not reconsider its decision not to hire controversial anti-Israel activist Steven Salatia.

Salaita had a contingent offer of employment, requiring Board approval for the tenured position. That approval was denied in early September, after Salaita’s tweets raised questions as to his fitness.

An official faculty committee report suggested reconsideration, subject to a fitness evaluation. A second non-official report by five prominent professors rejected reconsideration.

The American Association of University Professors is expected to issue a report demanding Salaita’s hiring and threatening censure. The Trustees decision effectively preempts the AAUP’s expected report.

The Board just announced its decision on reconsideration, via Via AP:

University of Illinois trustees say they will not reconsider a September decision to rescind a job offer to a professor over his profane, anti-Israel Twitter messages.

The trustees issued a statement Thursday that said the decision was final. A committee of university faculty had recommended that the school reconsider hiring Steven Salaita.

Salaita was offered a job teaching Native American Studies at the Urbana-Champaign campus starting last August but the offer was rescinded after he wrote the Twitter messages. Some university donors complained they were anti-Semitic.

The Urbana News-Gazette further reports:

“The board made its decision in September not to hire him into a tenured faculty position. That’s not going to change,” said UI spokesman Tom Hardy.

“The decision concerning Dr. Salaita was not reached hastily. Nor was it the result of external pressures,” read the board statement. “The decision did not present a “new approach” to the consideration of proposed faculty appointments. It represented the careful exercise of each board member’s fiduciary duty and a balancing of all the interests of the University of Illinois. In the end, this is a responsibility that cannot be delegated nor abdicated.”

UI president-elect Tim Killeen told The News-Gazette after today’s board meeting he has been busy reading various reports, including the CAFT one, but deferred commenting on it, citing pending litigation.

Salaita sued the University of Illinois in November after being denied a request for public documents about the process that led to his not being hired. The UI recently filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. A hearing on the case will be held next month in Champaign.

Seems like this is heading to court, unless Salaita is willing to take a check. From early on the University has been willing to make a financial settlement, but according to the Gazette, Salaita and his lawyers are unresponsive:

Hardy said the university has voiced its willingness to come to a settlement of “mutually-agreeable financial terms” with Salaita, but he and his lawyers have been unresponsive, he said.


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