University of Illinois chancellor responds to racist social media backlash
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s chancellor has finally responded to racist criticism for her decision to hold classes during a severe weather advisory.
Students took to Twitter to bash Chancellor Phyllis Wise under the hashtag #f**kPhyllis on Monday for simply being denied a snow day.
Chancellor Wise’s response, appearing on Inside Higher Ed,
On Monday, about a dozen students, upset that classes were not canceled because of cold weather, took to social media to criticize the decision and to attack me – in comments that were vulgar, crude and in some instances racist and sexist. People have asked me whether the attacks disturbed me.
Yes. Not necessarily on a personal level, because many of the comments could be dismissed as juvenile, notwithstanding the offensive language. Not because the comments truly reflect my university. The outpouring of support from our students, my colleagues and others – including heartfelt apologies from several of those who posted comments – has shown our true nature.
What was most disturbing was witnessing social media drive a discussion quickly into the abyss of hateful comments and even threats of violence. I shudder to think what might happen if that type of vitriol were directed at a vulnerable member of our student body or university community. […] Racist, intimidating or culturally derogatory epithets have no place in any debate in any circumstance. Of all places, a university should be home to diverse ideas and differing perspectives, where robust – and even intense – debate and disagreement are welcomed.
Click here for Wise’s full response.
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