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February 22, 2003

USF professors vow to stand by colleague

I can but hope, as a former member of the AAUP, that his "defense" is by the local chapter rather than the National organization. If so, we can blame this silliness on the heat and sun of the Tampa area. Let's see: the controversial professor taken out of the classroom and put on paid leave. Not fired. The AAUP supports him Then, recently, grabbed by the FBI and is to be he is indicted. Still not fired and I presume still collecting salary. But the AAUP will continue to support him. In what? Why not simply wait to see the outcome of the trial?

TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The faculty union at the University of South Florida said Friday it will continue to defend Sami Al-Arian in his battle to save his job as computer science professor.

Al-Arian was arrested Thursday on charges he is the chief fundraiser of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization.

Roy Weatherford, chapter president of the American Association of University Professors, said the issue of Al-Arian's suspension by the university has been challenged by a grievance and the issue is up to the school.

Al-Arian has been under suspension since last year because of his alleged ties to terrorism.

"The faculty union regularly defends the contractual and constitutional rights of everybody in the bargaining unit," Weatherford told The Oracle, the campus newspaper.

Weatherford said he was well aware that could cause some resentment.

But he said if the government proves its case, Al-Arian deserves to be punished.

Much of the opinion on campus was to wait for the courts to decide the case.[more]