Scholar Behind U. of Illinois Boycotts Is a Longtime Activist

Marc Parry in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

ScreenHunter_803 Sep. 20 22.23On a Friday night in early August, Corey Robin put out a call on his blog. There had been plenty of grumbling over the University of Illinois’s decision to revoke a job offer to Steven G. Salaita, who gained notoriety for incendiary tweets about Israel. But it had not been enough to persuade the university to reinstate the professor. So Mr. Robin, a political theorist at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, ratcheted up the pressure.

He suggested that scholars in every field begin organizing public statements refusing to accept any invitations to speak on any campus of the University of Illinois—a serious disruption of academic business.

“Nobody’s gonna do this,” Mr. Robin remembers telling his wife, who was reading in the bedroom of the Park Slope apartment that the couple shares with a daughter and five cats.

To his surprise, they did. Philosophers, citing, took up the challenge. The boycotts snowballed. English professors. Political scientists. Anthropologists. All signed on, and Mr. Robin blogged each fresh step. By the professor’s last count, more than 5,000 scholars have joined boycotts.

The Salaita Affair has riveted academe.

More here. [See also this.]