Published February 20, 2003
A brief timeline of events leading up to Sami Al-Arian's arrest, according to the University of South Florida:
January 1986 — Al-Arian was first hired as an assistant professor at USF
1991 — The USF Middle Eastern Committee was formed in 1991 to promote dialogue after Persian Gulf War and Al-Arian founded the WISE
1992 — USF's Middle Eastern Committee signed an agreement with WISE to sponsor academic meetings and occasionally publish papers. Islamic speakers are later brought to campus.
November 1994 — A PBS television documentary, "Jihad in America," alleged Al-Arian was the head of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group's domestic support network.
May 1995 — A two-part series in The Tampa Tribune questioned ties among USF, WISE and the Islamic Committee for Palestine charity. That same month, USF's inspector general found irregularities with WISE graduate students and the hiring of an Arabic instructor.
November 1995 — Federal immigration officials searched the WISE office and Al-Arian's home and office.
January 1996 — USF retains outside counsel William Reece Smith Jr. to look into USF's agreements with WISE.
March 1996 — The Oracle student newspaper receives a letter from a group claiming connections to the Islamic Jihad and neo-Nazis. The group threatens to bomb a USF building and kill a white female professor on April 29.
April 29, 1996 — USF closes most of campus due to the bomb threat. Final exams are moved one week later.
1996 — Federal agents say in unsealed court documents that they have probable cause to believe the think tank and the charity are fronts for international terrorists.
May 2, 1996 — Provost Thomas Tighe places Al-Arian on leave with pay, effective August 7, 1996, pending completion of the federal investigation.
August 7, 1996 — Al-Arian's paid leave takes effect.
February 24, 1998 — At the request of USF President Betty Castor, USF Associate General Counsel Hank Lavendera writes to the U.S. Department of Justice, asking for status of federal investigation.
March 6, 1998 — U.S. Attorney Charles R. Wilson responds to Lavendara's February 24 letter saying that the Department of Justice will not comment on its investigations.
April 6, 1998 — Engineering Dean Michael Kovac notifies Computer Science and Engineering Chairman Abraham Kandel that Al-Arian can resume his regular faculty duties in fall 1998.
August 1998 — Al-Arian resumes his regular faculty duties.
Sept. 26, 2001 — Al-Arian appears on FOX News Channel's O'Reilly Factor. Host Bill O'Reilly questions him about alleged ties to terrorism.
Sept. 27, 2001 — USF receives hundreds of angry phone calls and e-mails about Al-Arian, including calls and e-mails with threatening language about Al-Arian. The Computer Science and Engineering Department receives a death threat against Al-Arian. University officials discuss safety issues related to Al-Arian's presence on campus and decide to place him on paid leave.
Oct. 5, 2001 — Al-Arian is present in the USF's Marshall Center in violation of the terms of the leave of absence.
Oct. 8, 2001 — USF Provost David Stamps sends Al-Arian a letter notifying him that his presence on USF's campus on Oct. 5 violated his leave of absence. The letter constitutes a final warning to Al-Arian not to appear on campus.
November 1, 2001 — Attorneys try to determine whether Al-Arian's actions constitute conduct which would justify discipline up to and including termination.
November 1, 2001-December 18, 2001 — School lawyers decide Al-Arian's conduct could be grounds for termination.
December 19, 2001 — USF Board of Trustees holds an emergency meeting and decides to dismiss Al-Arian.