Racist flyers found scattered across campus

With+the+recent+racist+flyers+seen+around+campus+on+Thursday%2C+the+Illini+Hillel+will+be+implementing+extra+security.+This+instance+has+happened+twice+this+year.+

Sydney Laput

With the recent racist flyers seen around campus on Thursday, the Illini Hillel will be implementing extra security. This instance has happened twice this year.

By Willie Cui and Faith Allendorf

On Thursday morning, flyers claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan were found littered around campus. This is the second time in two months racist flyers were spotted on campus. 

A student who saw the Massmail said they were not surprised.

“I’m not surprised because of how large the campus is,” they said. “More diversity means more room for people who probably aren’t going to do good things.”

Erez Cohen, the executive director of Illini Hillel, said that these incidents were part of a national campaign against Jewish communities in the United States.

“At first, the feeling was very much of shock and pain to see that this type of hate still exists in America,” Cohen said. “But at this moment, we’re determined to make sure that these hateful messages are not going to stop us from building relationships with other minorities, with the University, and with the cities of Champaign and Urbana.”

Another student said they are disappointed by the flyers and how they target certain groups of people.

“It’s just sad how some people don’t understand how that can affect other people,” they said. “We shouldn’t try to pick out flaws in other groups of people or treat them with disrespect, because we don’t know their story.”

Cohen noted that the campus Jewish community “takes all the steps needed to make sure that no harm would be done to any Jewish student on this campus.”

“We work very closely with the University. We work very closely with the municipalities,” Cohen said. “Whenever these things are found out, we report them to the police, and the police are investigating this.”

According to Kenny Costa, a telecommunicator with the University of Illinois Police Department, “a vehicle had thrown out (the flyers) throughout campus” at around 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Lt. Jason Bradley said that while UIPD can’t control the actions of others, the Illini Hillel has measures in place to keep students safe.

“We certainly have an extra security element at Hillel and are in touch with the rabbi pretty much at all times,” Bradley said.

Bradley also said that they “always have somebody keeping an eye on these kinds of things,” noting that UIPD has detectives assigned with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce.

Bradley encourages affected individuals to stick together. 

“I think people, in general, should be continuing to support each other,” Bradley said. “And I think these are horrible things that happen when people view people of color as less than what they should be. I think people of all colors should be supporting each other right now.”

Cohen said that the Hillel will do as much as they can for those who feel unsafe on campus because of these incidents.

“We want any … Jewish person (on campus) who feels unsafe to come to us,” Cohen said. “Any non-Jewish person who feels unsafe can also come to us, and we’ll help as much as we can. And we’ll help to connect them to other communities that we work with.”

In the Massmail, Jones emphasized the importance of protecting the University’s diverse population.  

“We are a University that prides itself on its efforts to foster inclusion and respect, and we condemn these messages that are yet another divisive affront to our core and mutual values,” Chancellor Jones said in a Massmail.

However, a student said they feel the University should be doing more to prevent these incidents from happening. They referenced the anti-racist instructional videos the University requires students to watch, saying that “nobody takes them seriously.”

“The school should do something more than just sending out an email about it,” they said. “I just feel like it should be more efforts with the school to do something about it rather than just reading words from an email.”

Cohen reiterated that the Jewish community on campus will continue to work toward making the University a safe and welcoming place.

“Our Jewish community is going to continue to work with the University and all other communities on campus to make sure that we’re a safe campus, a welcoming campus and a diverse campus,” Cohen said. “No flyers are going to stop us from being a strong Jewish community on this campus.”

 

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