A hearing to determine whether Steven Salaita's employment lawsuit against the University of Illinois can continue has been canceled, as the judge plans to issue a written decision by mail.
Attorneys were notified Wednesday afternoon that the hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. today to consider the UI's motion to dismiss the case had been called off, said Anand Swaminathan, who is representing Salaita in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The notice from Judge Harry Leinenweber did not give a time frame for his decision.
"The judge's decision does not prevent us from going forward," Swaminathan said.
Salaita, a former Virginia Tech professor, accepted a written job offer from the UI in fall 2013. But UI administrators withdrew the job three weeks before he was to start teaching last August — and before the appointment went to UI trustees — because of Salaita's controversial tweets about Israel. Trustees upheld the decision in September.
Salaita sued the UI in January to get his job back and compensation for lost income and damages to his reputation.
In its motion, the UI argued that Salaita was never an employee because his job was subject to trustee approval, and academic freedom protections did not apply.
Salaita's legal team said trustees had in effect delegated their authority to administrators and the UI had a contractual obligation to hire him.