Letter to the Editor: Chancellor must follow words with actions
September 27, 2017
We have been waiting a long time for this.
In a statement this weekend, Chancellor Robert Jones condemned “anti-Semitic attacks hidden under the guise of anti-Zionist rhetoric” and pledged to better support the Jewish community on campus, which numbers around 3,500 undergraduates.
“Members of our Jewish, African American, Latino/a and many other residents of our diverse community find themselves asking whether they are welcome and safe here. The answer to that – whether in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, or any place in this country – must be a clear and resounding ‘Yes, you are’,” wrote the Chancellor in the statement.
These welcome words follow several anti-Semitic incidents on campus, reflecting a trend of increased anti-Jewish sentiment in our country.
Since the start of this semester, swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti have been discovered on University property. A Registered Student Organization group declared, “there is no room for Zionists” at the University of Illinois. Jewish students have reported being harassed, targeted and feeling unsafe.
In response, Illini Public Affairs Committee (IlliniPAC) joined with other organizations in calling on our school administrators to take meaningful action. Students came together and organized a letter writing campaign expressing our frustrations. Our efforts were met with an outpouring of support.
Chancellor Jones speaks for all of us when he says, “bigotry, racism and hate will never be tolerated here at Illinois.” I am proud that he has heard the voices of Illinois students and finally spoken up. It is crucial to know that the University cares for our safety and takes these concerns very seriously.
This statement is important; however, words must be supported by actions. We must continue advocating for the University of Illinois to take concrete steps toward protecting students. Specifically, individuals and organizations who perpetuate this hate must be held accountable. Our efforts will continue until that is achieved.
Elan is a junior in LAS.