— The local chapter of the American Association of University Professors will sponsor a workshop on academic freedom early next month on campus.
The "Academic Freedom Policies and Procedures at AAUP and UIUC" event will be from 3-4:30 p.m. on Nov. 4. It will be held in room 407 on the north side of the Illini Union.
Several panelists will deliver brief presentations, followed by a discussion and a Q&A session:
— John Prussing, emeritus professor of aerospace engineering at the UI and a past president of the local AAUP chapter, will talk about the principles of academic freedom.
— UI law professor Eric Johnson, past chair of the Urbana campus senate's Committee on Academic Freedom & Tenure, will talk about university policies and the committee's work.
— Cary Nelson, emeritus English professor and past president of the AAUP, will talk about national AAUP academic freedom policies and university sanctions.
The event is sponsored by the UIUC chapter of the AAUP.
The AAUP is a national organization that dates back to the early 20th century and defends academic freedom. Before UI trustees formally rejected professor Steven Salaita in September, UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise told Salaita she would not forward his name to the board for approval (after he was offered a job and he accepted). An official with the AAUP wrote to Wise at the end of August to express "deep concern" about action taken against Salaita.
"Aborting an appointment in this manner without having demonstrated cause has consistently been seen by the AAUP as tantamount to summary dismissal, an action categorically inimical to academic freedom and due process and one aggravated in his case by the apparent failure to provide him with any written or even oral explanation," the letter stated.
Harry Hilton, an emeritus engineering professor and president of the UI's AAUP chapter, said the workshop was organized in order to educate faculty, especially younger and newer faculty, about academic freedom principles.
The local chapter of the AAUP has not taken a position on the case. The national AAUP could conduct an investigation and if its investigating committee recommended censuring the university, that vote would not happen until the national convention in June, Hilton said.
The Urbana senate's Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure is looking into Salaita's case.