Roosevelt University Settles in Adjunct Professor's Academic Freedom Complaint

Roosevelt University and the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization (RAFO) recently agreed to settle a dispute between them that was scheduled for arbitration. Douglas Giles, the adjunct professor at the center of the issue who was terminated earlier this year for teaching about Zionism in a World Religions course, cannot disclose details of the settlement but says he is very happy with it. CAIR-Chicago considers the settlement a symbolic victory for Giles, RAFO and for academic freedom.

Giles was terminated after his department chair learned that the text book he was using to teach his World Religions class, one used widely by universities, had a section on Zionism in its chapter on Judaism. Although Zionism was not listed as a topic for discussion in Giles' syllabus, he did entertain questions and discussion by students in class about Zionism.

Giles states that the department chair later criticized him for allowing the discussion, claiming any discussion of Zionism opened Judaism up for criticism. The department chair also allegedly criticized Giles for allowing Muslim students to speak, and referred to Palestinians as "animals."

Upon learning of the incident, CAIR-Chicago began organizing on Giles' behalf. Attorney Rima Kapitan also represented Giles on matters related to his dispute with Roosevelt, working closely with union attorneys.

CAIR-Chicago will continue to advocate on behalf of students and professors whose academic freedom rights are compromised, and is reaching out to other organizations and individuals to help accomplish that goal.

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