Our Commitment to Respect and Inclusivity
November 12, 2020 12:17 PM
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
We learned this week of a series of social media posts insulting the Muslim community. They had been made by an individual who worked part-time for our Office for Student Conflict Resolution. These posts are hurtful and antithetical to our university values of inclusivity and respect. They diminish all of us, lessen our sense of community and damage our connections with each other.
They demean our institution, and we condemn them without reservation or qualification.
That these comments were made by someone who worked for us is even more disappointing and embarrassing. This behavior is not acceptable in an office where trust, integrity and impartiality must be the bedrock of our conflict resolution process. This person performed data entry for incident reports. He was not involved in any evaluation, adjudication or decisions in the student disciplinary process. Regardless, our disciplinary system is built on a framework of honesty, respect and the promise of a fair and transparent process. The continued presence of this individual would undermine that trust and compromise our disciplinary process. As of yesterday afternoon, he is no longer employed by the university.
Our excellence as an institution is founded in creating a university that is welcoming to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, political affiliation or socioeconomic background.
In a message expressing our values just two weeks ago, we said we are at our best when we engage in dialogue that encompasses the widest range of views and voices. We are free to dispute, debate and challenge ideas and opinions as we choose. But the university stands against Islamaophobia, racism and religious intolerance of any kind, and we recognize the lived experiences of everyone in our community. And we can always decide to place respect and tolerance above anger and resentment.
This was not the choice made by the individual who posted these anti-Muslim messages. And because of that, many in our community are feeling less welcome and less at home.
All of us signing this message today extend our sincere apologies to our entire community, particularly those in our Muslim community, for the damage and pain these messages caused. You are welcome here, and we pledge to continue working to foster a supportive and safe environment for everyone who joins us at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Robert J. Jones
Barry D. Benson
Vice Chancellor for Advancement
Andreas C. Cangellaris
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost
Sean C. Garrick
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Susan A. Martinis
Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation
Danita M. B. Young
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs