A proposed new form letter to potential faculty making its way around the university:
Dear Dr. _______
Congratulations! You may already be a professor at the University of Illinois!
I am pleased to say that we are provisionally offering you a possible job as an Associate Professor in the XXX department, contingent upon your background check and thought-process clearance. Please note that this offer is not enforceable in any way. It is, however, our sincere invitation to you to resign your current position, have your spouse quit their job, pull your children out of school and move to central Illinois on the off-chance that when you arrive, we might still hire you. Although the position is tenured, we ask that you to work for one month before we decide.
We are proud to say that you might be joining one of the finest research faculties in the world. Of course, since Academic Freedom is central to our mission at Illinois, we would not want your freedom to speak out on controversial issues to be constrained in any way. Therefore, we offer our “Illinois Freedom Guarantee”: you are free to say whatever you like, and in return, we are free to fire you at the local newspaper’s request.
There are just a few more steps to take before we can provisionally confirm your employment: we will need to do a forensic analysis of your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace and AOL accounts as well as your ATM access and the inscriptions on your high school yearbook. Please send us your most recent passwords and the name of your BFF from 12th grade.
We will need to install surveillance cameras in front of your house and current office. When you get here, you’ll be delighted to find that video surveillance is a standard feature in most office suites at U of I.
Please note that all faculty and prospective faculty are now subject to random autonomy testing. Governor Quinn will be in direct touch about our excellent selection of retirement plans.
To start your background check and clearance, please fill out and return the enclosed forms, with a check or money order for $50 dollars (non-refundable) and a recent DNA sample. You’ll be hearing from us very soon.
With sincerely conditional best wishes,
U of I