CASAR is currently under investigation. We know this because as students at CASAR, we tend to have our eyes and ears ready. On April 28th, almost one month ago, Andrew Cartwright (“University Auditor”) and Mohammad Shehab (“Internal Audit Manager”) entered Bldg. 37 and asked to meet with Nancy Batakji Sanyoura (“Program Coordinator”) and Dr. Lisa Hajjar (“Director”). Mr. Cartwright wrote down his name and phone number on a piece of paper for us to give to Mrs. Sanyoura and Dr. Hajjar upon their return. A simple Google search allowed us to find their titles—Mr. Cartwright as being the highest authority under the Audit Committee, answerable only to the Board of Trustees, and Mr. Shehab working below Mr. Cartwright. We connected the dots, concluding that the AUB administration had sent them to investigate CASAR. We have also since seen them enter the building and have long, closed-door meetings with several CASAR faculty members. There is no doubt that they are meeting with as many faculty and staff related to CASAR as they can. Their motives, however, are unclear.
One of our biggest questions during this controversy has been about the lack of investigation before the cancellation of the job search committee which recommended Dr. Steven Salaita. By initiating an investigation now, after the cancellation, it cannot be denied that the AUB administration is attempting to correct its prior mistakes. #StudentsforSalaita have been patient. We gave them weeks to investigate CASAR, hoping that they were taking our demands and our claims seriously, perhaps also investigating the administration for political motivations. However, almost a month has passed and we have seen Mr. Cartwright and Mr. Shehab in Bldg. 37 once again, interviewing the same people behind the same closed doors, with nothing to show for it. We have even e-mailed President Fadlo Khuri once again on the 18th of May, respectfully requesting a meeting so that we can finally discuss our concerns and the investigation without the screen of public statements—ours on social media, his on university-wide e-mails and breaking AUB’s confidentiality bylaws. He has still not responded. If the administration has been investigating CASAR for a month and still has no proof of intentional or significant violations in the job search process leading to the recommendation of Dr. Steven Salaita for the Director position, the AUB community deserves to hear it.
#StudentsforSalaita are done waiting. We demand that the investigation of CASAR end with a public statement by the 28th of May. We once again demand the reinstatement of the CASAR job search committee and its original recommendation and that the administration publicly apologize for rashly cancelling it without following AUB’s own procedure. We demand that the AUB administration respect academic freedom and refuse to allow external politics to influence faculty hires.