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                            Illinois Kept Secret</h1>
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                  <div class="pane-content">August 10, 2015</div>
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                      style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">Scott
                      Jaschik</a></div>
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                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">As
                            Hillary Clinton has learned the hard way,
                            using your personal email account when doing
                            government work doesn't make the content of
                            those emails exempt from public records
                            laws. The University of Illinois System <a
                              moz-do-not-send="true"
                              href="http://uofi.uillinois.edu/emailer/newsletter/77321.html"
style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">announced</a> its own
                            email scandal Friday afternoon, admitting
                            that some senior officials -- whom it did
                            not name -- used private email accounts for
                            official business and failed to turn over
                            some of those email records in response to
                            public records requests, as required.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">While
                            the university did not name the "certain
                            administrative personnel" who didn't turn
                            over their private email records, there is
                            at least circumstantial evidence indicating
                            that Phyllis M. Wise, chancellor of the
                            flagship campus at Urbana-Champaign, is
                            among them. Many of the email records that
                            were now released were either from or to the
                            chancellor. And the announcement of the
                            email violations came a day after <a
                              moz-do-not-send="true"
href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/08/07/chancellor-u-illinois-urbana-champaign-resigns"
style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">Wise announced that
                              she would be quitting her position</a> as
                            of next week.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">The
                            emails suggest that the private accounts
                            were used (despite clear university policy
                            that they are covered by open records
                            requests) to keep matters private. In one
                            email, Wise quotes Robin Kaler, Wise's chief
                            spokeswoman, as warning "me and others not
                            to use email since we are now in a
                            litigation phase. We are doing virtually
                            nothing over our Illinois email addresses. I
                            am ever careful with this email address and
                            deleting after sending."</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">Numerous
                            emails contain references that are likely
                            embarrassing to the senders and the subjects
                            -- and the email provides a look at the
                            kinds of conversations that senior
                            administrators never like to be visible. For
                            instance, Ilesanmi Adesida, provost at
                            Urbana-Champaign, emailed Wise about the
                            search for a system president whom Adesida
                            wrote in the email might not be needed. He
                            told the chancellor: "I agree, this place is
                            messed up."</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">The
                            emails provide new details on some of the
                            biggest messes at Illinois in the last two
                            years. They show how Wise and other senior
                            administrators (and some faculty members)
                            viewed their controversial decision to block
                            the hiring of Steven Salaita. And the emails
                            show how the Illinois board chair put strong
                            pressure on the administration to do
                            something about James Kilgore, an adjunct
                            who briefly lost his job because of his past
                            involvement with the Symbionese Liberation
                            Army. In both cases, the email records show
                            high-level administrators and board members
                            involved in academic decisions normally left
                            to academic departments.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px"><strong>The
                              Salaita Case</strong></p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px"><a
                              moz-do-not-send="true"
href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/08/06/u-illinois-apparently-revokes-job-offer-controversial-scholar"
style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">he outlines of the
                              Salaita case</a> have been clear for a
                            year -- he was offered a tenured job in the
                            American Indian Studies program at
                            Urbana-Champaign, and the hire was
                            sufficiently far along that he had quit his
                            previous job (at Virginia Tech) and been
                            assigned classes to teach at Illinois for
                            fall 2014. But Wise intervened at the last
                            minute and said that</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px"> she
                            would not forward the Salaita appointment to
                            the board for approval, and that he didn't
                            have a job. She did so after publicity over
                            Salaita's Twitter feed, where he wrote
                            passionately about the Israeli-Palestinian
                            conflict in ways that struck many supporters
                            of Israel as uncivil and hostile to Israel
                            and supporters of that nation. <br>
                          </p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">Once
                            the controversy started, Salaita and many
                            faculty members maintained that he had been
                            fired, without the due process Illinois
                            promises tenured faculty members. This is
                            part of a federal lawsuit Salaita filed
                            against the university -- and on which a
                            judge on Friday <a moz-do-not-send="true"
href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/08/07/judge-rejects-move-u-illinois-dismiss-salaita-lawsuit"
style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">refused a request by
                              Illinois to dismiss</a>.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">Wise
                            and her supporters maintained that Salaita
                            was not fired, but that he simply had never
                            been hired, as the board never gave its
                            approval. As a result, they said he wasn't
                            entitled to the due process of a tenured
                            faculty member.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px"><a
                              moz-do-not-send="true"
href="https://www.uillinois.edu/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=278006"
style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">The 294 pages of
                              emails</a> involving Salaita released
                            Friday show, however, multiple references by
                            Wise and other Illinois officials to Salaita
                            already having been offered a job at the
                            time that Wise blocked him from starting it.
                            The emails don't show a debate about what to
                            do about a proposed hire moving through the
                            system, but about one that has effectively
                            been made.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">For
                            example, an email from Wise just prior to
                            her telling Salaita he could not take up his
                            position said, "Let me add that the hateful,
                            totally unprofessional and unacceptable
                            Twitters have appeared mainly since July.
                            This is after the decision to hire him and
                            after his acceptance of our offer. It
                            reveals a side of a person that I believe
                            makes it difficult for him to contribute to
                            the culture of respect, collegiality,
                            collaboration that we hold so dear," she
                            wrote.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">The
                            emails also make clear that Illinois acted
                            against Salaita on the basis of the Twitter
                            comments. This could be important legally as
                            he has maintained -- with backing from
                            numerous academic and civil liberties groups
                            -- that his posts are protected expression
                            under the First Amendment. But Wise in her
                            emails suggests that there are limits to
                            protected expression.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">In
                            one, she says, "The real question for me is
                            when does freedom of speech cross the line
                            into hateful, harassing unprofessional
                            speech and action." (While there has been
                            much criticism of Salaita's comments and
                            tone, there have not been reports of
                            unprofessional "action" by him, and it is
                            unclear what Wise means there.)</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">The
                            emails also reveal a constant exchange of
                            ideas and gossip about how various faculty
                            groups at Urbana-Champaign and elsewhere
                            responded to the controversy as it continued
                            from last summer into the fall. Many
                            academic departments at Illinois and many
                            groups nationally condemned the university
                            for preventing Salaita from taking up his
                            position. But Wise also had <a
                              moz-do-not-send="true"
href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/09/22/salaita-case-illustrates-two-cultures-academe-many-experts-say"
style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">strong support from
                              many faculty members in the sciences</a>,
                            who viewed Wise's overall management of the
                            university more favorably.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">The
                            records that were released show Wise
                            receiving advice from scientists on the
                            situation and on understanding their
                            colleagues in the humanities.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">Douglas
                            Beck, a physics professor whose emails show
                            sympathy for Wise and her handling of the
                            situation, wrote to her, "There is a crisis
                            of value, most deeply felt in the
                            humanities. There is surely a component of
                            self-pity and desire to play the victim; but
                            I think we too are at fault in not taking
                            enough time to explain how important we
                            believe, e.g., the humanities, to be,
                            especially their stand-alone, intrinsic
                            value (not associated with interdisciplinary
                            etc. activities) ….</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">"There
                            seems to be a belief that the campus can
                            operate almost completely as a democracy,
                            where the faculty have the final say in
                            every important decision. They somehow don't
                            understand or choose to ignore all the work
                            that goes on outside their offices that
                            allows them to teach their classes and
                            seminars, read and write, with little
                            interference …. This may define the two
                            cultures" on campus, he added.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">That
                            email message is <a moz-do-not-send="true"
href="http://goodenoughprofessor.blogspot.com/2015/08/when-i-first-started-blogging-about.html?spref=tw"
style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">already being
                              criticized</a> online by other faculty
                            members.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">Salaita
                            did not respond to a request to comment on
                            the emails released Friday but he did
                            comment on Twitter, and focused on the new
                            evidence that senior Illinois officials
                            considered that he had in fact been hired.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">In
                            one tweet, he wrote, "I wish UIUC apologists
                            would just admit they're glad I got fired
                            b/c of my views. The 'but, but he wasn't
                            hired' routine is embarrassing." In another,
                            he said, "Misrepresenting academic hiring
                            protocol to suit a pro-Israel POV you're too
                            coy to vocalize screws over everybody, not
                            just political foes."</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px"><strong>The
                              Kilgore Case</strong></p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">James
                            Kilgore was hired as an adjunct in global
                            studies and urban planning in 2011 and
                            earned good reviews until 2014, when <em>The
                              News-Gazette</em>, a local newspaper,
                            published an article about his past. He was
                            hired at Illinois two years after leaving
                            prison, where he served time for his
                            involvement with a 1975 bank robbery in
                            which a woman was killed (Kilgore was not
                            the gunman).</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">He
                            told those hiring him about his past -- he
                            was a member of the Symbionese Liberation
                            Army,  a group best known for kidnapping the
                            heiress Patty Hearst. After the <em>News-Gazette</em>article
                            ran, <a moz-do-not-send="true"
href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/05/08/contract-renewal-adjunct-criminal-past-raises-academic-freedom-concerns-illinois"
style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">Kilgore was summoned
                              to a meeting with the provost and told
                              that future teaching there was unlikely
                              and that sections for him to teach --
                              already approved by relevant departments
                              -- were being held up</a>.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">University
                            officials denied that there was anything out
                            of the ordinary about their involvement in
                            blocking Kilgore from teaching, but many
                            professors said it was a violation of the
                            rights of Kilgore and the departments that
                            wanted him to teach to prevent him from
                            doing so, when there was no evidence that he
                            had violated any university policies. After
                            several panels reviewed the situation,
                            Kilgore was permitted to return to teaching,
                            and he has courses scheduled for this fall.
                            (Kilgore no longer supports the ideas of the
                            Symbionese Liberation Army.)</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">What <a
                              moz-do-not-send="true"
href="https://www.uillinois.edu/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=278003"
style="text-decoration:none;color:rgb(239,117,33)">the new emails on
                              Kilgore</a> show is that there was strong
                            pressure from Christopher Kennedy, then
                            chair of the Illinois board, to bar anyone
                            in Kilgore's position from teaching. Kennedy
                            also expressed the view that the university
                            "needs to, in many ways, reflect the values
                            of the state." The Kennedy email backs up
                            the views of many faculty members, who said
                            that Kennedy and other trustees were
                            inappropriately involved in decisions about
                            faculty hiring.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">In
                            an email from Kennedy to Robert Easter, then
                            president of the university system, after
                            the <em>News-Gazette</em> article appeared,
                            Kennedy wrote that "the story will be
                            offensive to taxpayers."</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">"I
                            think they are going to be offended by the
                            notion that their taxes are going to support
                            the lifestyle and career of a fellow who
                            tried to overthrow the U.S. government and
                            targeted police officers and innocent
                            victims for killings," Kennedy said, adding
                            that he believes that those who serve prison
                            terms deserve the chance to go on with life
                            but that he was "uncomfortable" with the
                            idea that "the second chance should come
                            from public support."</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">Kennedy,
                            a son of Robert F. Kennedy, who was
                            assassinated, noted that he has personal
                            experiences that shape his opinions on
                            issues. But he said that the university
                            can't be surprised by incivility by students
                            "given that we have held up to the students
                            as examples people like this fellow, who
                            thought it was OK to target cops and
                            noncombatants for murders as an expression
                            for political disagreement."</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">And
                            he suggested that the university must
                            generally pay more attention to the views of
                            state citizens. "I think the university, as
                            the state's public university, needs to, in
                            many ways, reflect the values of the state,"
                            Kennedy wrote. "If we become too cavalier in
                            our attitudes about this, then the people of
                            the state and their representatives will
                            respond. They'll hinder our ability to free
                            ourselves of unwanted procurement rules,
                            they'll limit our ability to provide
                            supplemental retirement benefits, they'll
                            acquiesce to a decrease in … support for the
                            university."</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">Kilgore,
                            via email to <em>Inside Higher Ed</em>,
                            offered this reaction to the newly released
                            emails:</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">"These
                            emails show that the motivation to get rid
                            of me came from the Board of Trustees. They
                            further confirm that early on in this
                            process the university was aware that I had
                            not concealed anything about my background
                            when I was hired. This issue has prompted
                            the university to recognize that addressing
                            people's criminal backgrounds is an issue
                            they cannot avoid in our present context.</p>
                          <p style="margin:0px;padding-bottom:10px">"With
                            70 million people in the U.S. with criminal
                            records and almost 20 million with felony
                            convictions, we who have felony convictions
                            are no longer an aberration. I only hope the
                            university will use the opportunity to
                            develop a policy to open the door to people
                            who have felony convictions and give them
                            the second chance that their 'Inclusive
                            Illinois' slogan implies. I also hope that
                            the development of a policy will eliminate
                            any urges from Board of Trustee members to
                            intervene in hiring decisions, especially at
                            the level of academic hourly."</p>
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      <div class="moz-signature">-- <br>
        Freedom Archives
        522 Valencia Street
        San Francisco, CA 94110
        415 863.9977
        <a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href="http://www.freedomarchives.org">www.freedomarchives.org</a>
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