Six Questions on the Salaita Case
Some ways in which care for justice might lead one
to oppose the decision to rescind a job offer
Associate Professor Kevin Hamilton
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
How could anyone see the rescinding
of Salaita’s offer as racist?
It dismisses the judgment of a department
dedicated, against great opposition given the
mascot debates, to understanding the ongoing
story underlying almost all racism - the story
of settlement, conquest, and genocide.
But wouldn't inviting Salaita here
only answer hate with hate?
To assess the potential impact of Salaita's
tweets on this community without the
leadership of the department that invited him
here is to dismiss that department's rightful
authority on both their academic field, and
But don't the Chancellor and the
Board have ultimate authority to
look after the good of the campus?
The Statutes grant them the power, but not
the authority to do so. Authority isn't granted
by statutes - it's granted through experience
and demonstration of expertise. In this case,
the hiring department brings authority on
both the discipline and on hate.
So the hiring Department should
have the last word?
Our Statutes don't grant them the last word.
But our broader traditions - of academic
freedom, and of justice - grant them
authority. That authority deserves to be given
first consideration in any exercise of power.
Instead the Board, the Chancellor and others
have wrongly claimed greater authority on
matters of hate and of American Indian
How could Salaita have led a fair
Many have spoken to this elsewhere, but few to
none have asked the department who hired
Where do we go from here?
When a group has been wronged as has the
American Indian Studies Program, there needs
to be some acknowledgment of wrongs, and
some moves toward restoration.
For some ideas on this, see www.restorativejustice.org