In the last 24 hours, sociologists and scholars of composition and rhetoric have organized two new statements of refusal regarding the Steven Salaita affair.
1. The sociology statement reads as follows:
Dear Chancellor Wise:
We are members of Sociology departments from around the world who write, regretfully, to inform you that we will not engage with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign as speakers, or as participants in conferences or other events at Illinois, until you rescind the decision to block Professor Steven Salaita’s appointment to the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Many prominent academics have written eloquently about the chilling effect your decision will have on the free expression of dissident ideas by academics; legal scholars have argued that it is a violation of academic freedom and more fundamentally, of freedom of speech.
Diverse and discordant voices, voices that some find “difficult,” are key to the survival of our schools as living institutions. Critical thinking of the kind that can lead directly to political dissent is exactly what any faculty in any college or university worthy of the name must teach.
Please reconsider your decision. Until then, we will not engage with a university we otherwise admire in so many ways.
If you are a sociologist, and wish you to add your name to this statement, you can sign it here.