Cornel West cancels lecture at U. of Ill. over fired prof.

Activist and academic Dr. Cornel West has cancelled an upcoming lecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, joining the widespread boycott of the university following the firing of Dr. Steven Salaita.

West was scheduled to deliver an April lecture on “The Profound Desire for Justice.”

“My change of mind in regard to my cancellation of my lecture constitutes a line in the sand I could not cross,” West said in a statement released by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

West, who has criticized President Obama as “too conservative,” also called Salaita’s firing a “moral scandal.”

Salaita was fired one week before classes were due to start, after he posted a series of tweets about the Israel-Palestine conflicts in Gaza last year. He had just resigned from a tenured teaching position at Virginia Tech University and was preparing to move his family to Illinois.

As Campus Reform previously reported, Salaita compared the Israeli nation to ISIS, the Islamic terrorist organization.

In January of 2015, Salaita filed a lawsuit against the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, alleging that the university’s decision to fire him violated his First Amendment right to free speech and constituted a breach of contract.

West is the latest in a series of academics boycotting the university. More than 5,000 academics are reportedly boycotting the university, which has resulted in the cancelation of over three dozen talks and conferences. Within the university, 16 academic departments have voted no confidence in the university’s administration.

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