Ui spring welcome back highlights need for inclusion

Every semester, campus leaders invite students back to campus, typically in the form of a University Massmail. On Monday, however, interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson acknowledged feedback about how she communicates in a video message.

In her video message, Wilson said that after conversations with students, faculty and staff, she decided to try reaching out to students via video message, in place of the traditional Massmail.

“So here it goes,” Wilson said before beginning her message.

In the video, Wilson recognized the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day but acknowledged that “King’s dream is still out of reach for many Americans.”

Wilson related King’s efforts to the University and encouraged students to celebrate his life and help fulfill the dream he established more than 50 years ago.

“I hope this week reminds us that changing the world is hard work, but it is exactly what the University of Illinois was founded to do,” she said.

Wilson reminded students that members of the Urbana campus need to “commit to daily activities” that enhance diversity at the University.

The Chancellor’s message to promote diversity on campus comes after the fall semester ended with elevated racial tensions. The creation of an “Illini White Student Union” Facebook page left many students, faculty and staff calling for reforms from campus leadership.

As a result, the University assured the campus community that the group was in no way supported by the University but did not pose a serious threat to the campus. A campus group known as “Black Students for Revolution,” called for change at the University and promised more action during the spring semester.

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