To: Sharon K. Hahs, President, Northeastern Illinois University
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, support Northestearn Illinois University professor Loretta Capeheart in her suit against NEIU's president, vice-president, and provost for violation of her free speech rights and retaliation against her for exercising these rights in defense of labor, minorities, and academic freedom.
After playing a leading role in her union (University Professionals of Illinois-AFT) during a strike, defending students arrested for protest of a CIA recruitment event, and contradicting her provost on the matter of recruitment and retention of Latino/a faculty, Professor Capeheart was
-denied appointment to her duly elected post as department chair,
-denied merited awards, and
-defamed in a faculty council meeting by NEIU's vice president,
who maliciously charged her without basis with stalking a student.
We are outraged at these serious and malicious attempts to silence one of our fellow academics, unionists, and anti-war activists. We cannot allow NEIU administrators to get away with these attacks on academic freedom and workers' rights. Their actions should be chilling to all workers, activists, and scholars. Her case is a perfect example of the stakes of the ongoing struggle for academic freedom—for labor, for inclusion and equality of minorities, and for the right to protest war and injustice on our campuses.
Capeheart seeks an injunction against further violations, for her rightful appointment as chair, and for monetary damages for defamation.
We stand with her.