AAUP Foundation Academic Freedom Fund Approves Grant to Professor Salaita

Contacts: Henry Reichman, Chair, AAUP Foundation Board of Directors
Greg Scholtz, Academic Freedom Fund

October 14, 2014

Washington, DC—The governing board of the AAUP Foundation’s Academic Freedom Fund has approved a grant of $5,000 to Professor Steven Salaita, who is without salary while he contests his dismissal from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on academic freedom grounds. The Academic Freedom Fund is a restricted fund within the AAUP Foundation. Under Academic Freedom Fund guidelines, temporary financial aid may be provided to faculty members whose means of support are reduced or cut off because of their involvement in academic freedom controversies. The Foundation concurred with the AAUP’s assessment that the current status of Professor Salaita, who was barred from teaching courses to which he had already been assigned, constitutes a suspension while the dismissal remains under scrutiny by the UIUC Academic Senate’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. Under AAUP ­supported standards and the university's own policies, the suspension is to be with pay. AAUP Foundation chair Henry Reichman noted that “the AAUP has urged the administration to adhere to these standards, but his suspension has continued without pay. The Academic Freedom Fund grant is a contribution to the financial expenses he has accordingly incurred.”

The Academic Freedom Fund was established by the AAUP in 1958 as a restricted fund for supporting academic freedom through research, publication, and direct assistance to faculty members. Most awards—more than a hundred— have gone to individual faculty members to assist them when their academic freedom has been threatened. The fund has also underwritten conferences and workshops on academic freedom and subsidized special reports on critical academic freedom issues. As of January 1, 2013, the Academic Freedom Fund became part of the AAUP Foundation, where its mission continues.

The AAUP Foundation is organized to fund, through its grant making process, the charitable and educational purposes of the AAUP. The purposes of the AAUP Foundation include, but are not limited to, supporting principles of academic freedom and the quality of higher education in a free and democratic society. By promoting and protecting academic freedom, the Foundation’s activities further the charitable purpose of advancing education. Safeguarding academic freedom encourages free inquiry, promotes the expansion of knowledge, and creates an environment in which learning and research can flourish, thereby enhancing the quality of higher education and benefiting society. Safeguarding academic freedom also furthers the charitable purpose of defending “human and civil rights secured by law” as interpreted by the First Amendment to protect the exercise of academic freedom.

The Foundation is a non-profit organization incorporated and operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes of the AAUP within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.