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AAUP May Soon End Censure of U. of Illinois Over Salaita Case

URBANA, Ill. — An academic censure of the University of Illinois over a professor who lost his job offer after a series of anti-Israel tweets could end next month, officials with the American Association of University Professors say.

Delegates to the national AAUP meeting in June are scheduled to take up the Steven Salaita case again after voting last year to leave the 2015 censure in place, The (Champaign) News-Gazette reported Saturday.

Salaita was offered a job starting in fall 2014 but the university rescinded it over his tweets objecting to Israeli action against Palestinians.

An AAUP representative, Illinois Wesleyan University philosophy professor Mark Criley, visited the university on April 28 to talk with faculty senate leaders, administrators and representatives of the local association chapter to prepare a report for the group’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The committee is scheduled to meet in early June to make a recommendation to the group’s full assembly, which meets June 17 in Washington, D.C.

“I don’t anticipate that there will be any problems,” said Anita Levy, senior program officer for the association’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure and Governance. “I think the visit went smoothly, and we hope that Committee A will recommend (the university) for the removal of censure.”

Levy spoke after receiving Criley’s report. She declined to discuss it until the committee members had a chance to review it.

University of Illinois emeritus professor Harry Hilton, a faculty representative to the association who had argued against removing the censure last summer, also said he will recommend it be lifted.

The university reached a legal settlement with Salaita last December. That was a key step in getting the censure lifted, and the association said most other conditions were met last year.

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