Please reinstate Professor Steven Salaita and change your hiring practices
Dear Chancellor Wise,
The freedom to communicate, to engage critically, and to participate in public discourses are the fundamental rights of scholars.
As scholars and academics studying communication, we are committed to the idea of fostering spaces that voice diverse thoughts, understandings, and worldviews. It is with this principle of academic freedom in mind that we write to share that we will not engage with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in any capacity until you reinstate Professor Steven Salaita’s appointment to the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
The right to communicate critical thought and to challenge established normative ideas is fundamental to the research and teaching mission of Universities. To fundamentally deny this right is to undermine the very mission of Universities as sites of critical thought, engagement, and progress.
In a global context where we attend to the powerful role of social media as catalysts for democratic participation as witnessed in various parts of the globe, to censor a faculty member because of his social media posts is a reflection of authoritarian censorship that is antithetical to the fundamental notions of communication and democracy.
We request you to sincerely reconsider your decision and also change hiring practices so that future individuals may not fall victim to such discriminatory hiring practices. Until then, we will not engage in any relationship with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
We sign this letter as scholars of communication, and not as representatives of our universities.