U Of I Issues Statements Denouncing ‘Hate-Filled Violence’ In Charlottesville

The Observatory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Observatory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Sean Powers/Illinois Public Media

University of Illinois administrators are condemning the “hate-filled violence” in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. A statement issued Wednesday evening is signed by U of I President Tim Killeen and the chancellors of the three university campuses.

The U of I's Urbana campus issued its own statement Thursday morning, signed by Chancellor Robert Jones, Interim Provost John Wilkin, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Danita Brown-Young, and Associate Chancellor for Diversity Assata Zerai.

The full statements are below:

Dear colleagues, students and friends:

The lens of history gives us many reminders of the massive human toll taken when hatred and bigotry rear their ugly heads and go unchallenged, or – through wicked intimidation – infect and persist within society. The same history, however, also gives us many examples of heroic and principled efforts to build and sustain human progress – achieved through the inspiring bravery and resolve of many in generations before. A recent visit to the American cemetery near Omaha Beach brought this home to one of us very recently.

Over the weekend, hate-fueled violence initiated and carried out by modern-day representatives of groups associated with the evil ideas of white supremacy, KKK, neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism led to the horrible events that we witnessed. It compounded the shock that these events were deliberately staged on and near a beautiful peer university campus in Charlottesville, Virginia – one devoted, as we are here, to diversity, inclusion, learning and scholarship. 

It is precisely because we have the wonderful privilege of freedom of expression in this country that we need to speak out in complete unanimity and in utter condemnation of this hatred and bigotry. These ideologies are absolutely contrary to what the University of Illinois System is and what it represents. In particular, we want to let our new students, our returning students and all members of the university family know that you are ALL welcome and embraced here. The U of I System cannot and will not tolerate actions and ideologies of discrimination, bigotry and hate.

Our universities stand with campuses and communities across the country that are stepping up in real time to help lead the way – condemning this awful behavior in any form. They and we also jointly reaffirm those bedrock values that promote a culture of understanding and respect for all – no matter what color, race, ancestry, age, interests, sexual orientation, LGBTQ status, religion, disability status, national origin, immigration status or gender.

On behalf of the U of I System, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Charlottesville and our friends at the University of Virginia.


Tim Killeen

Michael Amiridis
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago

Robert J. Jones
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Susan J. Koch
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Springfield

Dear members of the University community,

The week before we welcome our faculty, staff and students back for a new academic year should be a time of anticipation and optimism here at Illinois, but that enthusiasm is tempered by the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, that began with anger and ended in death. Episodes like these remind us of the real human costs of hate, racial bigotry and violence masquerading as civil discourse.

Nighttime, torch-bearing parades and displays of Nazi flags and paraphernalia can only be meant to intimidate, threaten and antagonize. These are the same symbols used just a few generations ago by a movement that murdered millions of people based on their race, sexual orientation, religion and ideology.

The First Amendment assures the right of free speech. But some speech must be condemned as an affront to our values. We cannot afford to ignore the violence such speech produces nor the damage it does to individuals and communities. We adamantly reject the idea of racial supremacy, and we extend our deep sympathy and wishes for healing to the community of Charlottesville.

At the same time, we must take this opportunity to commit ourselves as members of the Illinois community to finding peaceful and effective ways to debate, discuss and argue about divisive issues here at home. We will be defined as a university and a community by how we conduct ourselves in moments like this.

Intolerance, racism and violence are destructive to any democratic society, and they will never be condoned here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Robert J. Jones

John P. Wilkin
Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

Danita Brown-Young
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Assata Zerai
Associate Chancellor for Diversity

Story source: WILL