11/13/2015: The Nation has the news that the University of Illinois has settled with Steven Salaita, here.
8/11/2015: Former university trustee asks tough questions about buyout payment
Among those upset by the decision is former U. of I. board Chairman Christopher Kennedy, who approved Wise’s initial employment agreement.
“I wouldn’t give someone $400,000 to leave peaceably if they (did what she did). My belief is that those emails will reveal behavior that should be investigated,” Kennedy told the Tribune. “This is actionable information. You can fire someone for cause for this. When have we started giving money to people who (do this)?”
U. of I. on Friday released about 1,100 pages of emails that show Wise and other campus administrators used their personal email accounts in an attempt to circumvent state public records law, a violation of university policy.
8/7/2015: Chancellor Phyllis Wise out, after AAUP censures UIUC over Salaita firing
Long story. UIUC hired Professor Steven Salaita away from Virginia Tech, then fired him for “incivility” before he even started teaching, after some donors discovered he’d tweeted some things that they didn’t like. Seriously.
Chancellor Wise could have stood up for academic freedom, but instead she caved to the donors and the UIUC Board of Trustees. This summer the American Association of University Professors voted to censure UIUC over this.
Salaita sued UIUC, with the help of the Center for Constitutional Rights and various pro academic freedom groups. So far Chancellor Wise has spent $850K on outside lawyers to fight him. Yesterday was not a good day for those lawyers, when the judge tossed their motion to dismiss. Peter Schmidt of the Chronicle has a good summary of the judge’s decision here, if you are interested in contract law.
Shortly after the judge’s ruling was announced, UIUC announced that Chancellor Wise was fired, or resigned, or whatever you want to call it. She gets a $400K buyout, a year’s paid sabbatical, and then a ~$300K tenured job as a professor of biology – her contract says she gets the same salary as the highest paid person in the department. And the Oregonian reports she’ll keep her position on Nike’s board.
Meanwhile Salaita has a one year visiting job at the American University of Beirut.