Report 3: Transparency?

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Since President Fadlo Khuri cancelled the CASAR search committee for the Director position after it recommended Professor Steven Salaita, #StudentsforSalaita have been demanding that the claims of “procedural irregularities” be substantiated with an investigation. On April 28th, Andrew Cartwright (“University Auditor”) and Mohammad Shehab (“Internal Audit Manager”) began a belated investigation by questioning faculty and staff of CASAR. After nearly a month of silence, #StudentsforSalaita demanded that the AUB administration publicize the results of the investigation. Four days later, the Office of the President released a statement claiming, once again, that there were “numerous significant violations of University policies and procedures in connection with the search, and that resulted in a process that was not up to University standards of fairness and transparency.”

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If anything, this vague statement proves that the University’s “standards of fairness and transparency” are nonexistent. #StudentsforSalaita have more questions now than ever. First – it remains unclear why the investigation did not happen before measures were taken to cancel the job search, rather than after. Why was the job search presumed to be “irregular” before enough evidence was collected to prove this? Second – if the investigation was so thorough and exhaustive, then why are the specific procedures that were violated, along with the proof that they were violated, still being withheld from the public? Finally, and most importantly – what is the future of CASAR following this verdict?

CASAR plays a pivotal role in the advancement of scholarship on the relationship between the United States and the region through its conferences and research. Students benefit from CASAR’s interdisciplinary approach to Transnational American Studies. In a word, CASAR is invaluable to the AUB community. As students and members of the AUB community, we have the right to know the future of CASAR; it is still unknown who the faculty members of CASAR will be this upcoming semester, and whether Professor Steven Salaita will continue to hold a position at CASAR.

#StudentsForSalaita have three demands:

  1. We demand that the Administration outline exactly what procedures were violated by the search committee.
  2. We demand that the Administration present the evidence that verifies their claim that procedures were indeed violated.
  3. We demand to know what the future of CASAR will be under the administration of Fadlo Khuri and his newly appointed Dean of FAS, Nadia el Sheikh.

We believe that as students of AUB, we have a right to transparency as it aligns with the espoused values of this institution. Without this transparency, we refuse to accept the final verdict from the Board of Trustees and the Office of the President, and we reaffirm our initial demand that the hiring decision of the CASAR job search committee for the Director position be respected.