One last chance to send a BRIEF email to the Board of Trustees

Tomorrow is D-Day: The Board of Trustees at the University of Illinois meets. If you haven’t emailed them yet, please do so now; remember, we have an opening. I was going to say be civil, be polite, and all that. But apparently the main thing is: be brief. Email addresses below.

In the meantime, there’s a rally tomorrow at UIUC, 12 noon. For faculty, staff, students, trade unionists, and concerned citizens. Go.

Here are the addresses:

Christopher G. Kennedy, Chair, University of Illinois Board of Trustees:

Robert A. Easter, President:

Hannah Cave, Trustee: [the one we had doesn’t work, though a commenter claims this one is correct:]

Ricardo Estrada, Trustee:

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Trustee:

Lucas N. Frye, Trustee:

Karen Hasara, Trustee:

Patricia Brown Holmes, Trustee:

Timothy N. Koritz, Trustee:

Danielle M. Leibowitz, Trustee:

Edward L. McMillan, Trustee: or

James D. Montgomery, Trustee:

Pamela B. Strobel, Trustee:

Thomas R. Bearrows, University Counsel:

Susan M. Kies, Secretary of the Board of Trustees and the University:

Lester H. McKeever, Jr., Treasurer, Board of Trustees:


  1. John Protevi September 10, 2014 at 10:17 am | #

    “You can restore the good name of the university placed in your trust by fulfilling the promises made to Steven ‪‎Salaita‬.”

  2. John Protevi September 10, 2014 at 10:25 am | #
  3. Lynne September 10, 2014 at 10:37 am | #

    The board usually meets early, at 8 am so today is the last day to contact them before the meeting.

  4. PP September 10, 2014 at 12:09 pm | #

    the poster should ad something like “against anti-Palestinian and anti-Native American racism”

  5. Ash September 10, 2014 at 12:10 pm | #

    My email – which looks very long here. Oops! (Hope the formatting works out ok in this comment box)



    I am a Human Rights researcher, writer and activist from the United Kingdom and I write to you today in respect of your decision to fire Professor Salaita from his post at the University of Illinois; I had previously reached out to Chancellor Wise, but, unsurprisingly perhaps, received no response. I will attempt to keep my concerns brief, though perhaps not brief enough to appease Christopher Kennedy.

    At this point, so much about Professor Salaita’s case is known that I should not need to remind you of how your decision to fire him for exercising his right to freedom of expression under the First Amendment will have a profoundly detrimental and long-term impact on the reputation of the University of Illinois, both within the United States and beyond. Nor should I need to remind you of the effect that such a precedent will have on academic freedom in UIUC and in the US. What I will state, however, is this: by submitting to the pressure imposed on you by financial donors, and by completely bypassing the academic faculty who hired Salaita, you have eggregiously violated a number of procedural regulations outlined in the University of Illinois Statutes which dictate VERY clearly the processes one should follow where the hiring of academic staff is concerned. The fact that these regulations were violated when FOUR members of your Board are trained lawyers, including Patrick Fitzgerald of Blagojevich and Scooter Libby fame, will not help your case should this go to court. If you refuse to reinstate Professor Salaita tomorrow, without pre-conditions, that IS where this will end up because his supporters, myself included, are not going anywhere. In fact, we are just getting started. You must act now, before it’s too late.

    You have a very real opportunity to do the right thing here, ____. Take it, and re-instate Professor Salaita with immediate effect.

  6. Peter King September 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm | #

    Well, if brevity is what’s wanted, then (especially for Mr. Kennedy’s benefit):

    Steven Salaita : University of Illinois :: James Meredith : University of Mississippi

    • ovitt September 10, 2014 at 11:52 pm | #

      Sorry, not even close to being an apt comparison. In fact, this insulting to Meredith.

      • Peter King September 11, 2014 at 12:52 am | #

        I was not equating Mr. Salaita’s situation with Mr. Meredith’s but was indicating that they are analogous, with the point of similarity being the role of a Kennedy (père and fils) in being instrumental in determining the outcome — whether Mr. Meredith would become a student at Ole Miss and whether Mr. Salaita will be able to take his place among the faculty of UIUC.

  7. an observer, not an academic September 10, 2014 at 5:56 pm | #

    I have NO idea how to read the tea leaves about this issue. I don’t THINK U of I will bring him back… but then again, no university wants a lawsuit. And no university wants new faculty to fear they will be fired before they even start. So perhaps Salaita will have a job after tomorrow? We’ll see!

    • Ash September 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm | #

      I have no idea either, but I remain hopeful.

      As for Wise, it seems like she’s distancing herself from this decision and trying to pass the blame. Maybe she feels like her neck will be on the line?

      • an observer, not an academic September 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm | #

        Her neck is on the line. I believe she’s been thrown under the bus already. I doubt she will be there a year from now.

  8. ascientist September 10, 2014 at 7:51 pm | #

    I applaud all you are doing in this effort (and in your previous efforts, I was very impressed to see). Unfortunately I am in that “silent majority” that is appalled at the treatment of Steven Salaita, but are too cowardly to say so publicly, due to my untenured position and the general political conservatism on Israel by powerful interests in my STEM field (and within my institution in particular). I will not be silent when I do have tenure, however.

  9. NattyB September 10, 2014 at 8:25 pm | #

    Here’s (at least for now) 86 Ford Foundation Fellows boycotting (or signing in solidarity if UIUC affiliated) the UIUC:

  10. an anthropologist September 11, 2014 at 4:47 am | #

    Here is my 2nd, and final, email to the UIUC BoT. Sent 3:30 am, 4 hours before the scheduled meeting:

    Subject line: pleasing donors not worth university’s reputation

    Dear Trustees,

    No donation is worth more than the university’s reputation; even the appearance of undo influence causes irreparable damage. One can disagree with Salaita’s words, and support his right to speak them. Establish this and you will earn the respect even of Salaita’s detractors. Fail to do so and face a lawsuit in which donor emails and all communications among administrators are brought to light. Personal reputations and UIUC’s will be badly harmed, even if the court rules in your favor.



    Fwiw, I am a non-tenure track academic. I may face repercussions for this, but I see it as a collective action problem. If everyone who feels this way speaks out, they cannot punish us all.

    I don’t know if they are even still reading emails this late in the game. I did not receive any response to my previous emails, sent between last week and two days ago. Maybe this is a good sign; maybe it means they are overwhelmed. On the other hand, maybe their minds are already made up, and they just don’t give a shit anymore.

    • Ash September 11, 2014 at 7:21 am | #

      I received an email from Susan Kies acknowledging receipt and assuring that it would be passed on to the Board. I’d already emailed them individually anyway, so that can’t hurt.

      • Ash September 11, 2014 at 7:22 am | #

        *assuring me

      • An Anthropologist September 11, 2014 at 8:01 am | #

        I received a similar assurance from Secretary Kies, who sent it at 6:05 am Chicago time. My previous emails also elicited a general response of this kind. What I meant is that I haven’t received any response with anything specific enough to signal that my mail had actually been read (i.e. nothing even so personalized as Kennedy’s famous “not brief enough”).

      • Scribe September 11, 2014 at 9:17 am | #

        Yeah, I also received the same confirmation from Susan Kies.

        She’s the board secretary, so it’s likely that she’s just tallying how many emails in favor/against Salaita are coming in and updating the board on the numbers. Given the volume, I think it’s unlikely that the board will actually read all the emails that they’re receiving. However, it’s still important to make our voices heard.

  11. Scribe September 11, 2014 at 9:05 am | #

    Yesterday, the Chancellor’s last meeting of the day was with the college of Engineering faculty. The tone was that of a censorship pep rally. Wise doubled down on the rhetoric that firing Salaita was a defense of free speech, she said she was called upon to make a “tough decision” and she’s proud of how she acted. There was applause. Lot’s of it. One professor enthusiastically suggested that they they cast a vote in support of the Chancellor right then and there. The only reason this did not happen is because others objected on procedural grounds: This was not allowed because it was not on the agenda.

    There were some faculty who walked out in disgust, but judging from the ratio of somber faces versus applause, it’s likely that engineering will soon be posting a favorable statement on their webpage. The chancellor was all smiles as she left, saying that Engineering was the nicest and most amicable group that she’s met with in weeks.

    The Chancellor, the President and the Chair of the Board are planning to talk to reporters after today’s trustee meeting. Given the Chancellors’ statement to the engineers of how she was “proud” of her decision I think a reversal of the Salaita decision is unlikely.

    This is going to be a long fight.

  12. jonnybutter September 11, 2014 at 11:07 am | #

    The chancellor was all smiles as she left, saying that Engineering was the nicest and most amicable group that she’s met with in weeks. … This is going to be a long fight.

    Throughout this thing, I keep coming back to just how intellectually mediocre Wise is. Then I realize that we live in a time in which the skills you need to *get* a job are everything, and often have nothing to do with skills needed to actually *do* the job, which are secondary. It’s usually these high-level poo-bah jobs. Hell, look at Obama.

    • empty September 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm | #

      That’s a very nice insight! Explains our administration as well.

  13. An Anthropologist September 11, 2014 at 11:26 am | #

    @Scribe: This is a disappointing sign. Most disappointing is that Wise’s confidence suggests the decision has already been reached, and that the meeting is just a formality.

    (Or could it be that this thing is still in play, and Wise is just shoring up support where she knows she’ll receive a warm welcome—gathering constituents, in hopes of keeping her job if the board decides against her? I guess we’ll know soon enough. I’m not optimistic.)

  14. Ash September 11, 2014 at 2:32 pm | #

    Well, so now we know. I’m flabbergasted. ONLY ONE person (Montgomery) voted yes in favour of Salaita. Are the rest blind, or so supremely arrogant that they don’t give a s**t about being dragged through the mud? Or do they have something on Salaita that we don’t know about?

    I’m gutted for Steve, I really really am.

    I think the staff and students need to go on strike.

    • Yes September 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm | #

      They know Salaita quite well. Sample tweet of someone who is not fit to receive $85,000 in taxpayer money a year:
      #Israel’s supporters:
      -Zionist fanatics
      -Christian Zios

      #Palestine’s supporters:

      -Everyone else #Gaza

      • Ash September 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm | #

        Oh, but a foreign nation state that indiscriminately kills and maims thousands of innocent men, women and children IS fit to receive $3bn a YEAR of taxpayers’ money? P*** off.

    • jonnybutter September 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm | #

      In hindsight, it’s not so surprising that most of these people didn’t change their minds. They are all both Very Serious and Very Important – people who don’t *make* mistakes.

      Now the CW at U of I will be: If you have nothing to hide from the hiring committee, then you shouldn’t worry about the University reneging on a promise to hire you.

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