More university racism
As concerned citizens of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and as faculty in the university's American Indian Studies Program and staff at the Native American House, we wish to call attention to a recent incident of university students explicitly advocating racist violence against American Indians in general and against one American Indian student in particular.
We call on the university leadership and the university community to express public and unequivocal outrage at this incident. We also call on the university authorities to initiate disciplinary proceedings. Student behavior of this kind directly violates the University Student Code. Student behavior of this kind also violates the university's publicly stated policy on acts of intolerance.
On Facebook, the popular student-centered social web forum, a UI student has begun a group called ''If They Get Rid of the Chief I'm Becoming a Racist.'' The group has 110 members.
Two students have posted inflammatory messages on the group's Web site. These messages are available to any Web user who registers with Facebook, which includes most UI students and many other people across the campus community and across the national and worldwide network of Facebook users.
On Nov. 20, 2006, a UI student posted the following explicitly racist words that call for the death of Indian people, including the Indian people who are members of the UI community: ''What they don't realize is that there was never a racist problem before. But now I hate redskins and hope all those drunk, casino owning bums die.'' On Dec. 2, 2006, another student wrote the following explicit threat, a call for violence directed at a specific student: ''that's the worst part! Apparently the leader of this movement is of Sioux descent. Which means what, you ask? The Sioux Indians are the ones that killed off the Illini Indians, so she's just trying to finish what her ancestors started. I say we throw a tomahawk into her face.''
No university can continue to function normally when its students explicitly and publicly threaten and call for violence against other students. Such a call would not be tolerated if it were made against another racial group. No university community or leadership can tolerate such actions. We, the American Indian Studies faculty and Native American House staff of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, call on the university community and leadership to condemn these actions publicly and vociferously.
- Thomas D. Garza
Editor's note: UI Chancellor Richard Herman, in a mass e-mail, explained the university would not tolerate ''violent threats'' and ''will take all legal and disciplinary action available.'' He invited the community to a forum to address ways to create a more welcoming campus environment. The forum will be held Feb. 1 on the Champagne-Urbana campus.