The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
In the wake of Steven Salaita's lawsuit against the University of Illinois for refusing to confirm his faculty appointment due to controversy over his offensive tweets, University Chancellor Phyllis Wise resigned—or at least she thought she did. Inside Higher Ed reports that the university trustees refused to accept her resignation (which was apparently connected to a $400,000 severance payment of some sort) and is initiating dismissal proceedings instead. Perhaps coincidentally, the university also released hundreds of "inappropriately withheld" e-mails from Wise and others related to the Salaita controversy. Although these e-mails concerned official university business, they had not been disclosed earlier because they were on private e-mail accounts.
Last night, the Illinois News-Gazette reported Wise has rejected the university's rejection of her resignation and has submitted a second letter of resignation to the Board of Trustees. Oh, and she's consulting with lawyers to consider her legal options.
Corey Robin sums things up:
In a stunning turn of events tonight at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the chancellor who hired the professor, then fired the professor by claiming he had never been hired in the first place; who resigned in the wake of an ethics scandal over her use of a personal email account (and destruction of emails) in order to hide evidence related to pending litigation over the firing of the professor; whose resignation was rejected by the UI Board of Trustees so that they could formally fire her instead (and thereby avoid paying her a $400,000 bonus previously agreed upon), is now resubmitting her resignation to UIUC and consulting with lawyers in order to consider her legal options and to protect her reputation from the very university that, under her leadership, systematically destroyed the reputation of the professor she fired by claiming he had never been hired in the first place.
Here are some of my prior posts on the Salaita controversy:
- Tweeting without tenure
- More on tweeting without tenure
- Steven Salaita's legal claim—a dissenting view
- Did the University of Illinois rescind Steven Salaita's appointment to appease donors?
- University of Illinois trustees vote against Salaita appointment
- Is it time for the University of Illinois to offer Steven Salaita a job?
- Salaita lawsuit against the University of Illinois will proceed
And here's an informative post by Robin Bradley Kar on the contract issues involved.
UPDATE: It appears the university is now accepting Wise's second resignation.