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The is an interesting and thoughtful column about the University of Illinois firing Steven Salaita by Joseph Levine in today's New York Times "The Stone" discussion section.
Levine addresses the "civility" issue that Chancellor Wise raised in firing Salaita.
A controversial tweet about Israel’s bombing of Gaza this summer wasn’t true. But it ought to be.
Levine concludes, rightfully I believe, that such rhetorical questions are part and parcel of an effective educational process:
The Illinois chapter of NORML (National Organization to Reform marijuana Laws) fully supports Karen Lewis’s plan to legalize and regulate the adult cannabis market. While Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to decriminalize cannabis statewide is a step in the right direction it simply does not go far enough.
Decriminalization does nothing to curb the violence associated with the illegal cannabis trade and does nothing to prevent cannabis from getting in the hands of young people, especially teenagers. While decriminalization would reduce the stigma of having a criminal record it would still be against the law to consume this plant, and the manufacturing and distribution of this product would still be controlled by criminals, often violent gangs and drug cartels.
What’s next, now that the University of Illinois Board of Trustees has voted down Steven Salaita’s job? September 18, Katherine Franke, a top national scholar of law, religion, and human rights, spoke at a community conversation focused on academic freedom, political dissent, and particular legal issues involved in political action on Israel-Palestine as well as the firing of Salaita from a tenured faculty position.
Franke, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University, is paying her own way to speak at the
Independent Media Center in Urbana. Joining more than 5000 other faculty who are boycotting the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she announced her decision
to cancel a previously scheduled speaking engagement at UIUC in a September 2 letter to Chancellor Phyllis Wise. (See Letter from Katherine Franke.)
via MPP email...
Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner announced earlier this week that, if he had been in office, he would have vetoed Illinois' new law, which allows seriously ill patients access to medical cannabis. Rauner also said he preferred a system that would make business licenses available only to the highest bidders in order to raise money for state coffers.
Governor Quinn, who signed the medical marijuana bill in 2013, took exception to the comments, pointing out that the process is both competitive and transparent. His campaign called Rauner’s statements “heartless” and stressed that the law "will ease pain and provide relief for cancer patients (and) severely ill people."
by Ali Abunimah
Finally breaking its silence, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday claimed that the firing of Steven Salaita was “was not influenced in any way by his positions on the conflict in the Middle East nor his criticism of Israel.”
Rather, it was, in effect, a pre-empetive firing based on the assumption that his tweets would make him a bad teacher.
This transparent use of “civility” as a cover to fire a professor with outspoken views on Israel is almost identical to the pretext that was given by DePaul University in 2007 to deny tenure to Norman Finkelstein.
In that case, DePaul denied Finkelstein tenure on the vague grounds that he lacked “collegiality.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 5, Florida folk and Americana band Passerine lands in Urbana, IL, to perform at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. Show starts at 7:30pm. Admission is $5-10 sliding scale.
Dozens from Illinois Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, CU Immigration Forum, CU Citizens for Peace and Justice, Citizens with Conviction and other groups working for social justice in Champaign Urbana, gathered for an all-day workshop to learn media production.
In the IMC's newly created computer training classroom, participants used Audacity, free audio production software, to make short audio pieces.
DJ BJ showed people the ropes using the board in the WRFU 104.5 FM studio. Participants tried their hand speaking on air, then walked outside to view the 100 foot radio tower which broadcasted their message to all of Urbana, Champaign, and Savoy - all with 100 watts, or the power of a lightbulb.
Americans for Safe Access, the national medical marijuana patient's right organization has just released a national compilation of its evaluation of state medical marijuana laws. Although Illinois had a MMJ provision in its cannabis laws since the late 1970s, it was never more than a bit of window dressing and totally ineffective in protecting patients from prosecutors bent on running up their conviction rates. They simply ignored that part of the law, while prosecuting patients under the provisions of the law they are personally inclined to enforce.
That changed in 2013 when after years of trying, Illinois passed and Governor Quinn signed a MMJ law. While a small advance from the dreadful status patients faced previously, it is struggling to get off the ground, with significant doubts as to its ability to create improved access for patients, supply their needs at a reasonable cost, and prevent law enforcement abuse of patients.
ASA summarizes the current situation like this:
by Bruce Dixon
There are many things upon which elite corporate Democrats are in complete agreement with elite corporate Republicans. Often enough they are far more important to the way we live our lives than the cultural rhetoric and stylistic fluff that separates the two parties. Both Republicans and Democrats agree on empire and the wars needed to preserve it. They both agree gentrification, stadiums, and tax breaks for the wealthy are the only way to economically develop cities. They both know that poor and working people ought to subsidize a new round of predatory accumulation with lowered wages, plundered pensions, fiscal austerity and the privatization of public education.
A PROPOSAL TO REDUCE DUI BY 50%
10 THINGS CITIZENS CAN DO TO IMPROVE CITIZENS/POLICE RELATIONS
Marijuana possession arrests are down 32% in Urbana, but justice in the rest of the county and across the state is very uneven.
by ICDP/Roosevelt University
Illinois is one of the least friendly places in the nation for those caught possessing small amounts of marijuana, a new study by Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy suggests.
An emphasis on misdemeanor arrests for possession and a lack of consistency in implementing local pot-ticket laws typify how cases involving small amounts of marijuana possession frequently are handled in Illinois, according to the report that looks at misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests vs. tickets.
Illinois ranked fifth in the nation for the number of marijuana arrests made in 2010, and the state ranked first in the country for its high proportion of marijuana possession arrests vs. marijuana sales/distribution arrests. A whopping 98.7 percent of marijuana arrests in Illinois were cases involving simple possession, according to the study.
by Bruce Rushton
As a grassroots movement working to address racial, gender, and economic injustices produced by our local criminal justice system, we have made one of our main efforts in recent years the prevention of new jail construction and the mass-incarceration mindset that goes along with it. Our ongoing effort has had remarkable success, thanks in great part to the tireless work and vision of fellow CUCPJ member James Kilgore.
In February 2014, a local right wing newspaper launched an attack against Dr. Kilgore, reporting as if it was news on his criminal background and political activities in the 1970s and questioning whether the University of Illinois―where he currently teaches―should employ him. Although in March a spokesperson for the University made a statement in support of Dr. Kilgore, in April in a private meeting with the University provost, James was informed without explanation that the University would not approve any future employment contracts with him.
A series of May Day events is taking place May 3 to May 14 celebrating the life of legendary folk singer, banjo player, and political activist Pete Seeger, who passed away in January. After a flyer for the event was circulated, my friend Barbara Kessel emailed me about her recollection of Pete Seeger’s 1958 visit to the University of Illinois when he was banned from performing on campus during the red scare. The incident is a reminder of how widespread the blacklist was, even reaching this Midwestern college town. As the civil rights movement was gaining momentum and “the sixties” were just around the corner, Barbara recalled a “new world” opened up to her that night.
[Note: Urbana provides a decrim option to its police, but this bill would make a much-needed, clear-cut break with past policy by removing all criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis in every Illinois jusrisdiction.]
CHICAGO, IL — Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois released the results of a statewide poll showing strong support for such legislation. The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.