University Of Illinois OK's Salaita Settlement

Nov 12, 2015

Steven Salaita
Credit Jim Meadows/WILL

On an 8 to 1 vote… University of Illinois Trustees have signed off on an 875-thousand dollar settlement with Steven Salaita.

The professor who lost his job offer at the U of I last year over a series of messages critical of Israel on Twitter will receive a lump-sum payment of 600-thousand, plus 275-thousand in legal fees.

The lone ‘no’ vote came from Trustee Tim Koritz… who said the board acted in the best interests of students in voting to withdraw the job offer last year.

Salaita’s goal in his lawsuit was to be reinstated to the position the U of I had offered him in the American Indian Studies program.   But his attorney… Anand Swaminathan says Salaita is now ready to move past what happened.

“Over the course of time, as things developed, as we achieved major victories in the course of the litigation, as professor Salaita made the move to Beirut and began teaching again, and got to do what he loves, he reached a point where he decided to move on, and move on from the University of Illinois.  And so once that was the case, it made sense to get this case resolved," he said.

Salaita has been teaching his year at the American University of Beirut.  It’s a 1-year appointment… but Swaminathan says it’s possible that contract could be extended. 

In a statement after the vote… Interim Urbana Chancellor Barbara Wilson says the settlement reflects the belief Salaita and his family should be compensated for the financial disruption they experienced.  She also says this settlement represents an important step in the university’s efforts to see the American Association of University Presidents lift its censure of the U of I over the matter.

The AAUP declined to comment… pending a meeting of their administrative council this weekend.