The Faculty Senate is having an emergency meeting today to discuss President Judy Genshaft’s decision to terminate Sami Al-Arian.
Al-Arian, a computer science and engineering professor with alleged ties to terrorism, was fired after an independent attorney hired by the university reported to the Board of Trustees that his presence on campus would be disruptive.
The Faculty Senate meeting was called by Gregory Paveza, the senate’s president, because of the importance the situation has on academic life for the university and the academic freedom of the faculty.
“Everybody is filled with questions – the press as well as the public,” Paveza said. ” I expect a lot of people will be attending.”
On Monday, Genshaft sent a new message to the faculty about Al-Arian and her decision to fire him. On Dec. 19, Genshaft announced that she was going to fire Al-Arian after reviewing the findings of attorney Thomas Gonzalez, who said he found legitimate reasons that Al-Arian should be terminated. After Gonzalez presented his report, BOT voted 12-1 to recommend that Genshaft fire Al-Arian.
Genshaft said in a statement Dec. 19 that the controversy surrounding Al-Arian was consuming resources of many divisions of the university. And based on information presented to the BOT, “it would continue to do so as long as the current arrangement continues.”
Al-Arian was put on paid leave in September for two and half months before he received the notice of intent to terminate.
Paveza has met with both Genshaft and Provost David Stamps to discuss the situation with Al-Arian.
Paveza said he still is not able to say how the meeting today will go with all its members.
Student body president and BOT member Mike Griffin said the students he has talked to have differing views as well.
“Obviously students have questions about it,” Griffin said. “But I think that a lot of students just want to go on with what they have been doing, but then again there are still some that are upset and concerned, and those people will probably voice their concern.”
Griffin said he hopes the Faculty Senate supports Genshaft.
“I hope it comes out with support of the president, because if not, the result will have effects on the outside community,” he said.
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