MESA: “The Salaita Case and the New Assaults on Academic Freedom”


[Link to Facebook event:]


Dear friends and colleagues,

I hope all is well. Our MESA pre-program discussion now has a title: “The Salaita Case and the New Assaults on Academic Freedom.” But there’s still better news: Steven Salaita will join us for the discussion!

This is how the event is shaping up: After a brief introduction by Laurie Brand (Chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom) and myself, the discussion will begin with four 15-minute presentations. We will hear: (1) Dr. Steven Salaita speak about the implications of the attack on his constitutionally-protected speech and academic freedom; (2) Dr. Lisa Hajjar speak on the chilling effects of the new discourse of ‘civility’ adopted by university administrators on various campuses; (3) the general counsel of the AAUP’s Committee A discuss the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure; and (4) a representative of a disciplinary association like APSA, the AHA, or the MLA, consider how MESA might undertake joint action with such associations in defense of academic freedom. These presentations will be followed by a one-hour discussion among MESA members, members of the Committee of Academic Freedom, and the MESA leadership, intended primarily to consider the next steps that MESA generally and CAF specifically could take to combat politically-motivated threats to the work of MESA members.

The event will begin at 3:30 pm on Saturday, November 22nd.

I want to thank Laurie Brand, Nathan Brown, and Amy Newhall for their collaboration on this event – but of course, I want to thank all of you in particular. Without your support, this initiative would never have moved forward.

One final important note: Although Steven’s travel costs and conference expenses will be covered, it is MESA board policy not to grant honoraria for participation in the conference. Personally, I think it is only appropriate that Steven receive an honorarium for his participation in this event. Therefore, I invite you to join me in contributing to an honorarium for Steven at the following website:

Whatever you could contribute for this purpose would be greatly appreciated.

All best wishes,

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