Cultural Studies Association Releases Statement on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The following press release was sent to members of the Cultural Studies Association:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2014

The Executive Committee of the Cultural Studies Association (CSA), the largest network of Cultural Studies scholars, educators and practitioners in the United States and North America, hereby expresses grave concern over the decision of University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise to revoke the offer of a tenured associate professorship position in American Indian Studies to Professor Steven Salaita. The process followed by Chancellor Wise marks a serious intrusion into the basic norms of shared faculty governance.

The Executive Committee is further concerned by the rationale for these actions set out in the August 22 2014 statement by Chancellor Wise. The statement clearly indicates that the primary cause for rescinding the employment offer was Dr. Salaita’s public expressions on his twitter feed. The stated rationale substantially erodes the already shrinking space for academic freedom. Further, it uses speech from the public sphere of social media as a substitute for actual teaching records in making assessments about professional competence while seeking to justify the violation of shared faculty governance and due process.

We therefore urge Chancellor Wise and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the strongest terms possible to reverse their course of action by immediately reinstating Professor Steven Salaita as a tenured associate professor of American Indian Studies at UIUC. We also urge them to adhere to and uphold the protocols of shared faculty governance and the principles of academic freedom in this case and in the future.