My email to the Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Phyllis Wise, objecting to the firing of Professor Steven Salaita and demanding his reinstatement is below. You can send one too.
I am shocked and dismayed that you would end the employment of the honourable Associate Professor of American Indian Studies, Steven Salaita, due to pressure from those who place the indefensible – the genocidal actions of settler colonial Israel toward Palestinians whom it occupies, oppresses and sieges in Gaza – before academic freedom and ethical educative values.
Would you have treated Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King similarly for their strenuous public advocacy for attainment of rights for the rightsless because racists objected to their appointments? It is not uncivil nor bigoted to challenge racism.
Should academics be gagged from expressing political analyses and opinions in public so that the tender sensibilities of racists, white supremacists and nationalists are not offended? Surely one of the roles of education is to civilise people through learning to shed their prejudices and ignorance. Further, no state or political ideology should be quarantined from critique. To punish people for critiquing the Israeli regime or any other state undermines the foundations of democracy.
What message are you sending to other academics who oppose injustice and oppression? Why side with and encourage today’s McCarthyite bullies and their witchhunt of dissenters?
Please act judiciously in the spirit of civilised values, academic freedom and democracy – restore your reputation by re-employing Steven Salaita.
Shit and Curses, and Other Updates on the Steven Salaita Affair (Updated)
University of Illinois fires professor Steven Salaita after Gaza massacre tweets
Jewish group that sent email promising action denies role in Steven Salaita firing
USACBI Condemns UIUC Firing of Arab-American Scholar Steven Salaita
Return of the blacklist? Cowardice and censorship at the University of Illinois
AAUP Statement on Case of Steven Salaita