J’accuse (Again)

Sigh, here we go again, and trust me I’m not done yet.

This one is from Chancellor Wise the night before the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday the 24th, that meeting where, as she told the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (CAFT), “It was her understanding that, at the meeting, she and the Trustees had arrived jointly at the conclusions that the Board would not support Dr. Salaita’s appointment and that therefore she should not forward the appointment to them.”  See the CAFT Report, pp. 6-7.

Note in this email below Wise is forwarding to Adesida a note presumably from Robin Kaler that itself forwards a note from Deb Stone, who’s the Director of Academic HR at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

20140723_THENIGHTBEFORE

 

So what do we learn from this?  That as of 11 pm the night before the BOT meeting Wise was figuring out what to do about Salaita.  In this regard, as I pointed out in my open letter in a previous post, on July 22 Pierre was checking with Adesida to see whether Salaita had been hired, and about an hour before Wise sent the above email to Adesida she’d had a phone call with Menah Pratt-Clarke about whether Salaita’s hire letter had gone to the Board.  See again the Open Letter I posted earlier.

Now I have a bunch of back and forth emails I’ve not yet put up which pertain to the morning of the BOT meeting, but those will have to wait.  At present, let’s just reflect again on Wise’s statement to the CAFT that “It was her understanding that, at the meeting, she and the Trustees had arrived jointly at the conclusions that the Board would not support Dr. Salaita’s appointment and that therefore she should not forward the appointment to them.”

This is only an opinion (mine), but it’s smelling to me more and more as if up to the BOT meeting Wise was behind the Salaita hiring, and that it may well have been she got kicked in the pants by one or more of the trustees at the BOT meeting to execute the “un-hire” option of not forwarding the letter to the BOT.  That statement she made to the CAFT reads as subversive anger, the kind of thing an employee would say in a public setting where he/she would like to point a finger at what the BOSS made her/him do, but can’t just out and say that and keep his/her job.

If this possibility is in actuality true — and again I’m just offering it up as a possibility — then should we reappraise Wise’s actions, and find it in our hearts to be more supportive/understanding of her?  I don’t have a firm answer for that, but something about that word she uses reverberates for me … oh yes, “civility,” that’s it … we need to keep that word in mind when we point the finger at Wise.

If indeed she was pushed by a trustee or two, it doesn’t lift her own responsibility, but it does allow some sympathy on the part of those who truly recognize the concept of civility and wish to hew to it themselves.

Just saying …