January 29th, 2015
Steven G. Salaita’s widely anticipated lawsuit over the University of Illinois’s decision to deny him a tenured professorship takes the innovative step of also demanding damages from university donors who pressured its leaders not to hire him.
Along with its expected targets—top campus and university-system administrators, and nearly all of the system’s trustees—Mr. Salaita’s federal lawsuit names as defendants several as-yet-unidentified donors who threatened to withhold money from the university if it made good on its job offer to him.
The donors, and many others, had opposed the university’s plans to hire Mr. Salaita as a professor on its Urbana-Champaign campus because they objected to his inflammatory criticisms of Israel and argued that his statements were anti-Semitic. His lawsuit is in response to the university’s September decision to rescind its job offer to him.