Thankfulness for forum

By Howard Berenbaum

On Thursday, Feb. 1, UIUC students held a forum focusing on “Racism, Power and Privilege” at UIUC. We write to congratulate the students who organized the forum, as well as Chancellor Herman for supporting it, and to thank all who participated. I and most members of the executive committee of the UIUC Faculty Association (a membership organization representing faculty and academic interests at UIUC, founded as the Union of Professional Employees) attended the forum. We were moved by the heartfelt pleas for action and we were inspired by the courage of those who spoke so eloquently. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” At the forum, the leaders of UIUC had an opportunity to sit down and listen. The time has now come for them to show their courage by standing up and speaking. The organizers of the forum have developed a set of seven broad goals, whose ultimate aim is to create a safe and humane campus environment, respectful of diversity, in which all campus citizens are treated fairly. We urge President White and Chancellor Herman to publicly endorse all seven of these goals, including the removal of “Chief Illiniwek.” Only by speaking out publicly on all of these issues, rather than being silent, will the leaders of UIUC be able to demonstrate the courage of having listened and the courage to stand up and speak.

Howard Berenbaum

President UIUC Faculty Association