Even before the 2014-2015 academic year started, controversy has already been roiling within our higher ed circles. The heat, it seems, is just getting hotter. Specifically, the controversy I’m referring to involves the contentious un-hiring of Dr. Steven Salaita from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) American Indian Studies (AIS) Program’s roster of faculty members.
There is much to learn and understand about the Salaita case, the high volume of information generated about it, including the demonstrations, boycotts, and protests that have come about, especially because of the responses from the UIUC Chancellor and Board of Trustees.
This is a very big teachable moment. Our colleagues in the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies (GWS) of UIUC agree. They are hosting an open discussion event on Friday, September 5, 2014, from 12nn to 3pm Central. Brava, GWS! The department is honoring the strong tradition of public engagement within Women’s & Gender Studies scholarship.
Though I personally can’t be at the event, I hope those who are able to make it to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois will demonstrate support by attending. Barring that, let’s send them love notes via email, tweets, posts, likes, and traditional, handwritten letters. Regardless of our individual political position on the Salaita case, our colleagues at UIUC GWS are providing a very important informational service to their community. GWS UIUC, I commend you!
All my best,