CHICAGO (CBS) — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has reportedly decided not to hire a controversial professor whose anti-Israel writing has lit up Twitter like gasoline on a fire.
WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, even though Steven Salaita has his supporters, the university reportedly rescinded its job offer to join the American Indian studies program, after a firestorm of criticism of Salaita’s comments on Twitter about the Middle East conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.READ MORE: IDES Kept Offices Closed While Many Struggled To Get Their Unemployment Benefits: What Really Happened
“Some of them seem to cross the line recently into advocating violence against people,” said Cary Nelson, a professor of English at U of I, and former president of the American Association of University Professors.
He said he has defended the hiring of controversial professors before, but this is not a matter of academic freedom.READ MORE: Crash In Unincorporated Woodstock Leaves Woman Dead, 4-Year-Old Injured
“Academic freedom does not protect incitation of violence,” he said. “There was an American reporter – who someone else Tweeted, saying his articles should be met on the point of a shiv. And Steven Salaita re-Tweeted that, apparently approvingly.”
Nelson predicted the university’s decision will affect the BDS – the Boycott Israel movement.
“Steven Salaita’s case will be taken up as a cause around the country. It may be that we have provided the BDS movement with its ideal martyr,” he said.MORE NEWS: More Than 9,000 Unemployment Claims Filed In Illinois Last Week Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Salaita, who currently is listed as an associate professor for the English Department at Virginia Tech, has not returned WBBM’s calls.