Professor who lost job offer over anti-Israel tweets wins $600K settlement

University of Illinois settled out of court.

By JTA
November 17, 2015 13:18
UIUC

Hallene Gateway at the University of Illinois. (photo credit: PWOJDACZ/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

 
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A professor whose tenured job offer was revoked after he posted controversial anti-Israel tweets has reached a settlement with the University of Illinois.

The university will pay Steven Salaita $600,000 to drop two lawsuits and “neither seek nor accept employment at the university now or in the future.” The settlement also requires the university, which in the fall of 2014 dropped a tenured job offer after learning of several vitriolic tweets that Salaita posted during Israel’s August 2014 war in Gaza, to pay Salaita’s lawyers $275,000, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

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Donors to the university reportedly had complained about the tweets and called on the university to rescind the appointment.

“This settlement is a vindication for me, but more importantly, it is a victory for academic freedom and the First Amendment,” Salaita said in a news release issued by his attorneys, the Daily Illini reported.

Salaita had filed a lawsuit against the university, the board of trustees and several administrators claiming that they violated his constitutional rights, including to free speech and due process. He was also suing for breach of contract and for intentional emotional distress.

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