The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 11th, 2014
In her contentious decision to rescind a job offer to a controversial
scholar, Phyllis M. Wise has exposed the ramifications of a leadership
style that some professors and students say is consultative on its
surface but ultimately uncompromising.
Ms. Wise, who has been chancellor of the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign for three years, has come under fire in recent weeks
for pulling a tenure-track job offer made to Steven G. Salaita, a
scholar whose vitriolic tweets about Israel drew criticism.
The chancellor says she stands by her decision and shows no signs of
reversing herself amid complaints that she unilaterally trampled Mr.
Salaita’s free-speech rights. Her critics have suggested that Ms. Wise’s
actions were part of a larger pattern of autocratic decision-making.
Supporters, however, cast her as having made a difficult decision in a
situation that necessitated quick action.