In coordination with Chancellor Phyllis Wise’s letter defending the Steven Salaita firing, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees today issued a letter of support (pdf here, and copied below) endorsing her decision.

Disturbing, the Board of Trustees declares “our collective and unwavering support of Chancellor Wise and her philosophy of academic freedom and free speech tempered in respect for human rights.” Contrary to what they think, freedom of speech and academic freedom are, in fact, human rights, and must not be “tempered.” And what Wise and the Board regard as “human rights”—being respected and comfortable—are not human rights at all.

The UN Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” There is not one word…

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