UI’s good name should not be tarnished by intolerance on facebook

Recent postings on the Facebook group “University of Illinois’ Memes” have used the likeness of the University and spurred great controversy about race perceptions on campus.

In the heat of this controversy, this Facebook group continues to post discriminatory and insensitive pictures and comments directed at minority students on campus. I believe that this use of the University’s image does not reflect the cultural competency that Illinois strives to instill. That is why at the Illinois Student Senate meeting held on Feb. 15, I introduced a resolution to condemn the use of the University’s name and likeness in this capacity. Furthermore, I felt it was imperative to reiterate the University’s stance on diversity: “Illinois is the place where we embrace difference. We embrace it because we value it. We value it because we know that we have so much to learn from each other in our living, learning and working environment.”

The Facebook group has unfortunately become popular with thousands of people “liking” the group and some have gone so far as to make comments that I believe should be deemed racially insensitive. Several members of Illinois’ minority community have expressed their growing discontentment with the Facebook group and furthermore race relations on campus.

Herbert Harper, senior in Media, expressed, “I was very shocked and offended by the blatant racism that was displayed on the page. I feel that pages like that should be erased and that the University should take whatever actions necessary to prevent this from being published with our institution’s name.”

Clearly, the rhetoric and imagery portrayed is neither reflective nor supportive of Illinois’ diverse student body. That is why I am calling on ISS to condemn the use of the University’s name and the Urbana-Champaign campus’ likeness to spew such intolerance.

And let us take further action to encourage the creator and followers of the “University of Illinois’ Memes” Facebook group to cease and desist disseminating these images and comments under the Illinois’ name. The resolution was referred to the ISS Campus Affairs Committee for review and will be voted on in the coming weeks. Once released to the full body for a vote, it is my hope that ISS unanimously votes in favor for the resolution.

_Damani Bolden,

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences senator_