Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Below is a press release regarding a Facebook page that calls for violence against American Indians at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Reporters want interviews with people at the Native American House or in American Indian Studies at UIUC.

Please! We've issued many statements on the harm caused by UIUC's mascot.

Rather than ask us for interviews, talk to UIUC's Board of Trustees. Do NOT let them give you the empty statements they've issued for too long already, that they are seeking a compromise. They've been seeking that compromise for at least two years.

And talk to UI's President, B. Joe White. Ask him why, as the president of this institution, he cannot make a statement asking that the BOT retire the mascot.

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For Immediate Release

January 8, 2006

Pro-Chief Students Issue Call for Racism and Violence against American Indians at University of Illinois

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, section 1-302 parts a 2, d 3, f, g, o 4, and o 5. For the Rules of Conduct in the University Student Code, see http://www.admin.uiuc.edu/policy/code/article_1/a1_1-302.html. Student behavior of this kind also violates the university's publicly stated policy on acts of intolerance (http://www.odos.uiuc.edu/stophate/intro.asp).

On Facebook, the popular student-centered social web forum, a University of Illinois student has begun a group called "If They Get Rid of the Chief I'm Becoming a Racist." The group's web site can be viewed at this Facebook address: http://uillinois.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2216973206, though it is likely that Facebook authorities will soon remove the site, because it violates Facebook policies. One hundred and ten University of Illinois students have joined this group.

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 University of Illinois students and many other people across the campus community and across the national and world-wide network of Facebook users.

On November 20, 2006, a University of Illinois student posted the following explicitly racist words that call for the death of Indian people, which of course includes the Indian people who are members of the University of Illinois 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 December 2, 2006, another student wrote the following explicit threat, a call for violence directed at a specific University of Illinois 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 tomohawk 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.

1 comment:

mr said...

It's such an interesting concept that 'reporting the news' has evolved into 'reporting how the people most immediately affected by it feel about the news'.

No context, no analysis, no putting things into perspective, just simply scrambling about to get a juicy quote from the person who happens to have suffered the most, or the one who has had the best, up-close view of the thing.

As to the event in question, I think it pretty much speaks for itself.

How could one more eloquently tell the story of the chief and his poisonous legacy than through these vivid testimonials?
All of the ignorant arrogance of these people just shines forth, and
I don't know if I've ever seen a better examples of the Hannah Arendt quote: "Violence appears where power is in jeopardy..."