The University of Illinois is no longer on a censure list after an American Association of University Professors vote today.
In 2015, the AAUP found that the Urbana campus violated basic tenets of academic freedom when it revoked the tenured appointment of Steven Salaita because of his controversial Twitter posts about the war in Gaza. In fall 2015, Salaita, who had filed suit in federal district court, reached a financial settlement with the university.
Local AAUP chapter president Harry Hilton said that after negotiations with the AAUP, the university "made policy changes that addressed the issues that gave rise to the investigation."
"I am aware that a number of my colleagues are concerned about the slow progress of the UI statute revisions," Hilton said before the meeting.
"While these certainly are important matters in their own right, (they) were never preconditions required by AAUP national for censure removal.
Though the move was predicted, the UI was happy with the action.
"I'm pleased to learn that AAUP recognizes our efforts and is taking this positive action," Chancellor Robert Jones said.
"As I have said many times, universities like ours must be where people turn to find trusted solutions to grand challenges that are too complex for any one entity to solve alone. And just as critically, we must remain committed to taking on problems that many feel are too controversial and too uncomfortable to be raised."
Jones said ideas can be "dangerous ... and even threatening.
"They have the potential to rewrite history and disrupt governments. Sometimes they just lead us down dead ends and even are deemed failures. Still, we must be a place where our students and scholars alike have the freedom to pursue them all. Academic freedom is a bedrock principle at Illinois. But these ideas also lead us to knowledge, practices and discoveries that improve the lives of billions across decades."
An AAUP representative who visited the UI in April found that the climate for academic freedom is "robust," said Anita Levy, senior program officer for academic freedom, tenure and governance.