Breaking: UI Trustees meeting, as we tweet

Away all weekend and offline, but came home to this breaking news: the Executive Committee of the University of Illinois Trustees is meeting, right now (Monday, 2:30 pm), to discuss the following:

In closed session, the Executive Committee will consider University employment or appointment-related matters, and pending, probable or imminent litigation against, affecting, or on behalf of the University.

I have no idea if this meeting had been previously scheduled or not. And I have no idea if this is in reference to Steven Salaita’s case. You’ll recall that Wise or some other administrator had said that the Trustees weren’t scheduled to meet until September, when they would have been expected to vote on Salaita’s appointment. This would suggest this meeting (which, it should be pointed out, is of the Executive Committee rather than the full Board) is an emergency meeting to consider the Salaita affair, but again, I can’t know for sure.

In addition, according to Michael Rothberg, who’s the chair of the English department at UI, a group of concerned faculty at UI were scheduled to meet today with the Chancellor.

I’m leaving tomorrow first thing in the morning, and will have scant access to the internet for the next few days. I’ll post any updates I get on this meeting before I go. In the meantime, here are some stats on our statement of refusal drive:

The general, non-discipline-specific, statement has 1250 signatures. The political science statement has 160 signatures. The contingent academics’ statement has 200 signatures. The women’s studies statement has 52 signatures. The philosophy statement has 153 signatures. The sociology statement has 226 signatures. The communications statement has 68 signatures.

I don’t have updates on English or rhetoric/composition, but when I do I’ll post them here. (At last count, English had 214 and rhetoric/composition had 20.)

There is now a statement for scholars of Chicano/a and Latino/a Studies to sign. At first glance, it seems as if they have 67 signatures.

There is also a statement for anthropologists to sign.

All told, as of 3 pm, we have more than 2400 scholars publicly declaring their refusal to engage with the UI until Steven Salaita is reinstated.

Update (3:30 pm)

Phan Nguyen emailed me the following link on the Executive Committee of the Board. It states:

The Executive Committee meets on call of the chair or of any two members for the transaction of business that is urgent and cannot be postponed until the next regular meeting of the full board. The Executive Committee has all the powers of the Board of Trustees.

The Board is composed of three members: Christopher Kennedy (of the Kennedy family), Edward McMillan, and Pamela Strobel. All heavy hitters from corporate America.

Update (7 pm)

Rhetoric and composition has 31 signatures on their statement.


  1. Susan Davis August 18, 2014 at 4:26 pm | #

    Dear Corey — This is an unusual meeting, not one of the regularly scheduled BOT meetings. However, there are a number of unusual personnel matters right now (including the seeming firing of an administrator at UIC) so it is not clear what they are meeting to talk about. Meetings are usually public, but when employment matters are discussed the BOT goes into executive, closed session and thus is outside of the public meetings requirements of Illinois law. So, who knows?

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