The Daily Illini

Editorial | A tumultuous year could lead to a brighter future

Chancellor+Robert+Jones+helps+Dr.+Lynn+Hassan+Jones+exit+their+car+due+to+the+2017+Homecoming+Parade+being+blocked+by+an+anti-Chief+Illiniwek+protest+on+Friday.+Earlier+this+week%2C+following+a+meeting+with+alumni%2C+students+with+indigenous+backgrounds+and+Native+American+House+staff%2C+Illinois+Student+Government+sent+out+information+that+it+would+be+boycotting+the+parade.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Editorial | A tumultuous year could lead to a brighter future

Chancellor Robert Jones helps Dr. Lynn Hassan Jones exit their car due to the 2017 Homecoming Parade being blocked by an anti-Chief Illiniwek protest on Friday. Earlier this week, following a meeting with alumni, students with indigenous backgrounds and Native American House staff, Illinois Student Government sent out information that it would be boycotting the parade.

Chancellor Robert Jones helps Dr. Lynn Hassan Jones exit their car due to the 2017 Homecoming Parade being blocked by an anti-Chief Illiniwek protest on Friday. Earlier this week, following a meeting with alumni, students with indigenous backgrounds and Native American House staff, Illinois Student Government sent out information that it would be boycotting the parade.

Ethan Scholl

Chancellor Robert Jones helps Dr. Lynn Hassan Jones exit their car due to the 2017 Homecoming Parade being blocked by an anti-Chief Illiniwek protest on Friday. Earlier this week, following a meeting with alumni, students with indigenous backgrounds and Native American House staff, Illinois Student Government sent out information that it would be boycotting the parade.

Ethan Scholl

Ethan Scholl

Chancellor Robert Jones helps Dr. Lynn Hassan Jones exit their car due to the 2017 Homecoming Parade being blocked by an anti-Chief Illiniwek protest on Friday. Earlier this week, following a meeting with alumni, students with indigenous backgrounds and Native American House staff, Illinois Student Government sent out information that it would be boycotting the parade.

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

Let’s be honest: 2017 was a mixed bag. Last year, right before we all left campus to enjoy a much-needed break and time with our families, The Daily Illini Editorial Board wrote a semester in review editorial that ended with the hope for a more inclusive and diverse campus in the new year, with students caring for one another as human beings and peers, and a call to disagree respectfully and reasonably.

Last year’s staff could never have predicted the events of the year to come.

Not to say that 2017 was all bad at the University, but unfortunately, last year’s wish did not appear to come true.  

The school year opened on a bleak note, just after one of our own was abducted from campus. Yingying Zhang disappeared after being abducted by former University student, Brendt Allen Christensen. In the following six months, Christensen was charged, and Zhang’s family returned to China without their daughter.

During the Homecoming Parade in October, the Chief made an appearance, sparking protests from the Illinois Student Government and many students that halted the parade until the Chief left.

Afterward, many students condemned the ISG for getting involved in a “violent” protest that did not reflect the thoughts and feelings of all students. Regardless of your stance on the Chief, it is disheartening to see the campus divided over an issue regarding race. For this campus to truly become a place of inclusivity and diversity, we need to learn how to work together instead of tearing one another apart.

In early December, Suburban Express, a longtime bus shuttle business operated on campus, released holiday ads and subsequent apologies that were extremely racist toward students here at the University, highlighting that our community has a long way to go toward eliminating this particularly heinous form of hatred.

On a national level, our last year’s Editorial Board hoped our political leaders would make decisions in the next year that would further this country’s progress.

In September, President Trump ordered an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which deferred action on deportation for childhood immigrants. The decision affects young people all over the country, including right here on campus, as students could become eligible for deportation soon in the future.

However, 2017 was not a wash for progress.

In the past couple of months, many powerful figures who were previously revered by society were exposed as sexual harassers and predators, making waves for change and potential progress for survivors everywhere. This prompted The Daily Illini Editorial Board (then TIME magazine) to choose those survivors as person of the year.

We don’t know what 2018 will hold, but we hope this little bit of progress could fan the flames of change in other areas where our country could use some serious improvements. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better.

We remain optimistic that the extreme backlash that followed some of the insidious campus events this semester shows students are passionate and involved. This year may not have been our year, but the future is promising.

Going into next semester, we know many students don’t agree with our opinions, but I think we can all agree that no matter where you fall on the political ideology spectrum, change will never occur unless we remain open-minded, hopeful and always willing to do the right thing.

4 Comments
The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871