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Fired Professor Steven Salaita’s Speech at Columbia College Chicago on Israel, Civility & Academic Freedom

*Author’s note: Professor Steven Salaita was terminated from a tenured faculty position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in  because he sent out tweets through his personal Twitter account that were critical of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

For background on his case, here is a previous post outlining what happened. For biographical information on Steven Salaita, here’s a good profile The News-Gazette (in East Illinois) published on him.

Salaita pushed the Board of Trustees at UIUC to reinstate him. They refused to do so, and Salaita is in the process of preparing a lawsuit, which he has not officially announced yet but one can presume will be filed because he is retaining a team of lawyers.

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This week, Salaita has been touring college and university campuses in the Chicago area to speak about the issue of academic freedom of campuses, to share his story with students and to discuss what can be done next to fight for him and restore academic freedom at UIUC.  

He spoke at Columbia College Chicago on Wednesday, October 8, along with one of the college’s professors, Iymen Chehade, who had his academic freedom violated earlier this year when the college cut one of his classes after he screened the Academy Award-nominated film, “5 Broken Cameras” and a student complained about bias.

As a Columbia College alum, I detested what happened to Chehade this year. I also would like to see more support and solidarity shown by faculty and students on campus. Nevertheless, the speech was attended by only ten or twenty Columbia College students from the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter on campus, which hosted the event. There were very few Columbia College faculty members there in the audience, if any.

Transcript after the jump

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."