The University of Illinois found itself trending on higher education social media for all the wrong reasons on Thursday.
First, a federal judge ruled that a lawsuit brought by a professor whose job offer was rescinded by the university could go forward. Steven Salaita had been offered a position to teach at Illinois in the fall of 2014, left his job at Virginia Tech, only to have the job offer withdrawn by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise in the wake of expressing perceived anti-Israel sentiments on Twitter.
Wise also announced her resignation on Thursday, effective August 12.
“External issues have arisen over the past year that have distracted us from the important tasks at hand,” said Wise, who took office in 2011. “I have concluded that these issues are diverting much needed energy and attention from our goals. I therefore believe the time is right for me to step aside.”
During Wise’s tenure, in addition to Salaita’s suit, the campus was censured by the American Association of University Professors for its handling of the situation and faces two lawsuits alleging mistreatment of athletes in three sports.
Wise had led the efforts to launch a medical school in Urbana, scheduled to enroll its first class in 2017.
University President Timothy Killeen said he expects to name an interim chancellor within a week.