Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Universities like ours are places where controversial and sometimes divisive issues are considered and debated. It is the role of higher education to address challenging topics, and it is often at the uncomfortable edges of challenging conversations where we make our greatest advances.

We value respectful discourse while also recognizing that offensive speech is protected by the First Amendment.

The best recourse to speech with which we disagree is more speech:

  • Speech that clearly articulates a stronger and better argued point of view.
  • Speech that represents the values we hold most dear.
  • Speech that builds connections and shared understanding.

Throughout the academic year, we will see and hear perspectives that anger and even frighten us. Last semester, we saw incidents in social media. This week, it was chalking on the Quad. We don’t know what the next issue will be, but we know there will be one. These are often painful moments for our students, faculty and staff and we need to support one another as we strive to address divisive issues in society. 

There are campus policies in place to ensure the physical safety of everyone in the community. We work with campus and local public safety officials to ensure people may gather safely and express concerns or opinions. There are many resources on campus to ensure safety and to address incidences of bias and discrimination. Acts of intolerance should be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students at 217-333-0050, or (for anonymous reporting) or contact the Office of Diversity, Equity and Access at 217-333-0885 ( When we learn of acts of intolerance, we convene our Bias Incident Investigation and Response Team within 48 hours to determine appropriate course of action.

We encourage every member of the campus community to exercise her/his own right to free speech and free expression. We are at our best when we engage in constructive dialogue that encompasses the widest range of views and voices.


Barbara Wilson
Interim Chancellor

Edward Feser
Interim Provost

Renee Romano
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

This mailing approved by:
Office of the Chancellor

sent to:
Academic Professionals, Civil Service, Faculty, Graduate Students & Undergraduate Students
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