Faculty members in the American Indian studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday cast a vote of no confidence in the university’s chancellor, Phyllis M. Wise.
The vote came weeks after campus administrators, including Ms. Wise, revoked a job offer to a professor accused of incivility in his criticisms of Israel. Steven G. Salaita, a former professor of English at Virginia Tech, had been offered a job as a tenured professor of American Indian studies, but his appointment was contingent upon approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. On August 1 administrators told Mr. Salaita they would not bring his appointment before the board after all. An affirmative vote from the trustees, the administrators said, was unlikely.
“In clear disregard of basic principles of shared governance and unit autonomy, and without basic courtesy and respect for collegiality, Chancellor Wise did not consult American Indian Studies nor the college before making her decision,” the faculty members wrote in a statement. “With this vote of no confidence, the faculty of UIUC’s American Indian Studies program also joins the thousands of scholars and organizations in the United States and across the world in seeing the Chancellor’s action as a violation of academic freedom and freedom of speech.”