Steven G. Salaita, whose tenured-faculty appointment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was withdrawn nearly five years ago over his harsh criticisms of Israel, has found a new job outside the ivory tower. He's a school-bus driver.
Salaita, formerly a professor of English at Virginia Tech, was going to assume a new post at Illinois in the fall of 2014. But a string of tweets that he posted about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict drew considerable outrage. Illinois trustees denied him the offer. And news of Salaita's dismissal, and the extensive litigation that followed, made him a polarizing crusader for academic freedom.
Salaita then took a position at the American University of Beirut, from which he was "ousted," he says, due to pressure from U.S. senators and university donors alike. (Neither Salaita nor the university immediately responded to requests for comment, but in 2016 the university denied accusations that Salaita had been purposefully kept from being appointed to a new post as director of its Center for American Studies and Research. Eventually the University of Illinois agreed to pay Salaita a $600,000 settlement and cover his legal fees.)
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