Dear colleagues, students and friends:

The lens of history gives us many reminders of the massive human toll taken when hatred and bigotry rear their ugly heads and go unchallenged, or – through wicked intimidation – infect and persist within society. The same history, however, also gives us many examples of heroic and principled efforts to build and sustain human progress – achieved through the inspiring bravery and resolve of many in generations before. A recent visit to the American cemetery near Omaha Beach brought this home to one of us very recently.

Over the weekend, hate-fueled violence initiated and carried out by modern-day representatives of groups associated with the evil ideas of white supremacy, KKK, neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism led to the horrible events that we witnessed. It compounded the shock that these events were deliberately staged on and near a beautiful peer university campus in Charlottesville, Virginia – one devoted, as we are here, to diversity, inclusion, learning and scholarship. 

It is precisely because we have the wonderful privilege of freedom of expression in this country that we need to speak out in complete unanimity and in utter condemnation of this hatred and bigotry. These ideologies are absolutely contrary to what the University of Illinois System is and what it represents. In particular, we want to let our new students, our returning students and all members of the university family know that you are ALL welcome and embraced here. The U of I System cannot and will not tolerate actions and ideologies of discrimination, bigotry and hate.

Our universities stand with campuses and communities across the country that are stepping up in real time to help lead the way – condemning this awful behavior in any form. They and we also jointly reaffirm those bedrock values that promote a culture of understanding and respect for all – no matter what color, race, ancestry, age, interests, sexual orientation, LGBTQ status, religion, disability status, national origin, immigration status or gender.

On behalf of the U of I System, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Charlottesville and our friends at the University of Virginia.

Tim Killeen

Michael Amiridis
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago

Robert J. Jones
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Susan J. Koch
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Springfield

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