USF President Judy Genshaft has said she would announce her decision about what to do with Sami-Al-Arian by August. She obviously wants to fire the suspended (with pay) Palestinian professor suspected of having terrorist ties.
The university, however, is paying for its bungled approach. It’s still using the regrettable ruse of breach of contract (saying Al-Arian should only speak for himself and the guys at the mosque — not USF) and campus safety as the rationale. It should have had the candor and guts to say that sponsoring, hiring and helping to fundraise for terrorists is a fire-able offense, among other transgressions.
So USF is in a bind.
Al-Arrogant has become an academic-freedom cause celebre among the elbow-patch-and-pipe set for whom terrorism is just another real world abstraction. In fact, USF now faces academic terrorism in the form of censure by the American Association of University Professors. Fallout from the AAUP’s dirty bombast could be harmful. The Scarlet C is especially threatening to a relatively young university such as USF, which is in the midst of rapid growth and ratcheting reputation. It can severely impact faculty hiring and retention. It likely already has.
USF has been told, in effect, by the AAUP that if it fires Al-Arian, it will be censured. (West) Bank on it. But all it has to do to avoid such a consequence is reinstate him. It’s that simple. Extortion isn’t very complicated.
What war on terrorism? This is an attack on tenure.