(October 11, 2019 / JNS) The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been facing a recent streak of anti-Semitic incidents, including a swastika being found on one of its buildings.
The Nazi symbol was discovered on Monday in the Foreign Languages Building, according to a campus email sent Wednesday by Chancellor Robert Jones.
Additionally, a recent presentation for the school’s residential living team, consisting of 11 student employees and a full-time staff member, contained anti-Semitic content, the specifics of which are currently unknown.
Jones said campus administrators are reaching out to those who attended the meeting to gather information about what transpired.
“This exercise was part of a university program created to help students learn to share diverse ideas and perspectives that lead to new understanding,” wrote Jones. “Instead of fostering dialogue, it incited division, distrust and anger.”
“The program allowed our students to enter an extremely challenging and potentially volatile situation without the preparation, training, education and professional oversight they needed to succeed,” he continued. “This is inexcusable and unacceptable. This is a failure to our students, and that is my responsibility.”
Chantelle Thompson, a spokesperson for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, told The Chicago Tribune that “concerns were raised that the presentation inaccurately linked some identities or viewpoints with violence and terrorism.”
Thompson added, “None of the students involved are to blame for the outcome.”
“I want to state publicly and unequivocally that acts and expressions of anti-Semitism are acts and expressions of hatred and discrimination that are in direct opposition to our core values,” said Jones. “Bias and prejudice are antithetical to the educational foundations of our university and hurtful to our entire community.”
“The idea that any individual feels threatened for expression of personal religious or ethnic identity is unacceptable. We will always recognize the rights of those on the campus to safely and freely express their perspectives and opinions,” he continued. “But we will also be ready to condemn statements and actions that violate our shared values and seek to demean, intimidate or devalue others in our community.”
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