We are grateful to the many LIS professionals who have engaged with the University to discuss the reinstatement of Professor Salaita and to reiterate the principles of our profession to Chancellor Wise and others in the University’s administration. This gratitude extends to the many who feel the chilling effects of the University Board’s decision: professors, adjuncts, staff, students, and others who have signed petitions or taken other actions to protect the values of academic freedom at UIUC. Their actions shine light on the path we hope to take together, the path to maintaining a community environment that does not easily fall silent, succumb to uninformed opinions, and rush to reactionary decisions. We hope that other LIS professionals–students, professors, librarians, and more–will join us on the path toward resisting censorship and collusion by signing this open letter.
via UIUC GSLIS Students in Solidarity with AIS.
My fellow students and I publicly express our grief, disappointment, outrage, gratitude, empathy, and resolve. Most importantly, we show the strength of our commitment to intellectual freedom. We honor the communities of which we are part and the members who have raised their voices already. We write as ourselves, as individuals, as whole people. We do not claim to represent any established University institution, organization, or entity. Please share our open letter widely and join us.
The Good Enough Professor: Not Too Refined to Say This, Anyway.
“Incivility” is necessary for some voices to be heard, for the stakes of any particular debate to be apparent, for conversations to result in meaningful change. A colleague supportive of Salaita, who has served in administrative positions for several years now, posted this morning on Facebook, “People in upper admin with whom I’ve worked closely for years are now unwilling even to make eye contact with me. Inclusive Illinois.” That right there is the problem with making “civility” the boundary of conversation. “Civility” only works if both parties are already operating from a position of equality and already in mutual agreement on the need for the conversation. It doesn’t work if a powerful participant refuses to acknowledge that…the less powerful participant has an issue that needs to be discussed. It also doesn’t work when only the powerful participant gets to define where the outer bounds of civility lie. Civility commits us to a university where existing injustices remain entrenched and silenced voices stay that way.