U of I Facing Scrutiny Over Job-Offer Decision

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is wrestling with a controversy over a professor’s withdrawn job offer.

The administration recently rescinded a job offer to an English professor named Steven Salaita to join the university’s American Indian Studies program. Salaita had over the summer used Twitter to angrily and sometimes profanely denounce Israel during its conflict with the Palestinians.

Emails released by the university show that dozens of students, parents and donors begged Chancellor Phyllis Wise not to hire Salaita. On Aug. 1 the offer was pulled back. Wise said Salaita’s hiring hadn’t yet been approved by the board of trustees.

Salaita now isn’t talking. But his supporters say his academic freedom was violated. They say he was essentially hired and deserved the protection tenured professors are granted.

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