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U. of Illinois Censured for Canceling Prof’s Job Over Anti-Semitic Tweets

A national professors’ organization voted to censure the University of Illinois for rescinding a job offer to a professor over his anti-Semitic tweets.

The vote by the American Association of University Professors took place on Saturday at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. In April, the association released a report that found the university violated the principles of academic freedom and tenure in the case of Steven Salaita.

Also in Saturday’s voting, Yeshiva University in New York was removed from the association’s censure list.

The condemnation, a relatively rare move by the professors’ group, can damage a university’s reputation in the academic world, according to The Associated Press. There are 56 institutions of higher learning on the association’s censure list.

Last summer, the university announced that Salaita would be joining the faculty. Chancellor Phyllis Wise later revoked the appointment, however, after being made aware of tweets by Salaita attacking Israel and its U.S. supporters in harsh language during Israel’s operation in Gaza last summer. The tweets appeared on Salaita’s personal Twitter account.

Donors to the university reportedly had complained about the tweets and called on the university to rescind the appointment.

Salaita has filed a lawsuit against the university, the board of trustees and several administrators claiming that they violated his constitutional rights, including to free speech and due process. He also is suing for breach of contract and intentional emotional distress. Salaita is seeking compensation and the job as a tenured professor in the American Indian studies department.

Meanwhile, Yeshiva University was taken off the list after rectifying issues over some of its hiring and firing policies and practices.

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