Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and several other student organizations organized a vigil on the Quad last Thursday evening. Several campus leaders were invited and we learned a great deal. To those who attended the vigil, thank you again for your words, your honesty, and your dedication to making Illinois a better community for all.
Thursday we heard stories that were inspiring. We also heard stories that angered and disappointed us. We understand that students who experience instances of racism and discrimination find it difficult to consider our campus community as their home.
Universities like ours must be places where all are respected, where everyone believes their voice will be heard, and where views may be freely and safely expressed and debated. This year, events on campuses across the nation have called attention once again to the fact that much work still needs to be done to meet those standards. As your Chancellor, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, we want you to know that we are committed to doing that work here. In the coming weeks, we will be communicating regularly with the campus about our ongoing initiatives and new actions we are considering. We ask for your continued partnership in this important work.
As the vigil once again demonstrated, our students are courageous in calling attention to the challenges we face in making this a campus that is truly welcoming to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background. It is our responsibility to take what we hear and work with the campus community as a whole—all faculty, students, and staff—to implement changes that will lead to far fewer stories that outrage and many more that inspire.
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