On April 26th Fresno State abruptly closed the Edward Said search in Middle East Studies (MES). The Administration claimed procedural violations in the search. This claim was made after the search committee had completed all aspects of the search and submitted a rank ordered list of four candidates, all of Palestinian or Arab American ethnicities. The cancellation of the search generated an overwhelming response by academics at the national and international levels. Numerous letters of objection from scholars in Middle East Studies and petitions with over 2500 signatures called into question the action of the administration, asking the university president, Joseph Castro, to reopen and complete the search.
Vida Samiian, one of the authors, who served as Director of the MES program, resigned in objection to this discriminatory closure. In her public letter of resignation, she documented a campaign of pressure on search committee members by Zionist and Israeli state supporters.