Anita Levy, from the national American Association of University Professors (AAUP), today sent a forceful letter to Chancellor Phyllis Wise stating that the AAUP is extremely concerned that the firing of Steven Salaita constitutes an “arbitrary dismissal,” an unacceptable action according to long-standing AAUP statements and policies (to which the University is formally committed).
Levy argues that the University’s communications with Salaita over the last year, in the absence of any sound explanation from the Administration for the cancellation of his contract, mean that he is essentially a University of Illinois faculty member until he has received due process. The University therefore should begin paying him the promised salary.
Levy carefully outlines the ways in which the AAUP has viewed summary dismissals and aborted employment contracts in the past — and finds it likely that the university administration has acted in bad faith and without sound reasons. Levy requests more information from the Chancellor.
Anita Levy is a staffer in the AAUP Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, which works closely with AAUP’s Committee A, the national committee charged with investigating violations of academic freedom. Committee A has the power to recommend censuring an institution to AAUP’s Annual Meeting, but only the Annual Meeting has the power to place an offending university on the AAUP censure list.