180 University of Illinois at Chicago Faculty & Staff Sign Letter of Concern Regarding Upcoming Donald Trump Event


CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–March 7, 2016.  Today 180 faculty and staff sent a letter to the chancellor expressing concern and seeking a meeting regarding the endangerment of students caused by the Trump event at the UIC Pavilion.

The letter reads:

Dear Chancellor Amiridis:

Thank you for your prompt reply to the concerns expressed by faculty, students, alumni, and the community regarding the Donald Trump rally scheduled at the UIC Pavilion on Friday, 11 March at 6 pm. This letter serves as one response from the undersigned faculty and staff at UIC.

We value free speech and the right to assemble and we appreciate the university’s commitment to those constitutionally protected rights, as well as its commitment to exercising no political bias and neither endorsing, sponsoring nor supporting (nor condemning, excluding, or censoring) any political candidate who requests to lease a space on our campus. From the now 40,000+ signatures (growing by the minute) on the petition requesting that the university cancel the event to the 7,000+ people who have RSVP’d via social media to attend a protest against Trump’s positions on a number of issues and the over 13,000 who have expressed interest in protesting, it is clear that our community is poised to engage publicly in vocal opposition to speech we find unacceptable and violent.

The alarm behind the petition, emails and calls you have received extends to more than opposition to political positions or speech acts. We write to turn your attention to the extremely important issue of safety, which you also cite as paramount in your letter to the campus. We are deeply distressed that this event threatens to create a hostile and physically dangerous environment to the students, staff, faculty and alumni who come out to express their opposition. We base this claim on what happened recently at another public higher education institution, Valdosta State in Georgia, where university security ejected a group of peaceful protestors, all of whom were students enrolled at the university, who were seeking to attend the rally being held in a campus venue. We are also concerned for the safety of the diverse staff and team of student employees who work at the UIC Pavilion, as well as of those in our community who have no choice but to traverse parts of the campus around the Pavilion going to and from work and class from the time the event doors open around three through and immediately after the full closure of the building.

In addition to the deeply troubling events other educational venues that have rented space to the Trump Campaign, we are also expressly concerned by consistent reports that Trump supporters across the country have used racial slurs and attacked individuals who are members of groups that are represented, valued, and guaranteed respect and safety on our campus, invoking Trump and his candidacy for President as they did so. Donald Trump has done nothing to condemn or distance himself from these hateful speech acts or acts of violence, or hate groups who perpetuate them. A range of reports in both the alternative and mainstream press have provided credible evidence that people of color and individuals with values opposed to those touted by the Trump campaign have been verbally and physically assaulted by not just the crowd attending Trump rallies, but also by the security forces staffing them. This maltreatment has extended to journalists. Some have been violently removed from rallies, despite having done nothing uncivil, let alone illegal. Donald Trump has been quoted as saying something to the effect of being willing to defend in court anyone who finds him or herself in trouble for reporting or expelling dissenters from his rallies and speeches. There is evidence that members of his audience have treated visible racial or religious markers as grounds for expulsion and that security and police have been enlisted to assist them. All of this amounts not only to a refusal to defend the rights and protect the safety of those targeted individuals, but more importantly as a direct affront against those rights and that safety. It also compromises the integrity and mandate of the officers assigned to maintain order and safety. We believe that these actions suggest that an incitement to violence is very likely and must be planned for and stopped if UIC is going to allow the rally to move forward. We believe these examples also constitute sufficient evidence to justify canceling the event to protect the physical safety of the UIC community.

If you affirm your decision to allow the event to move forward, we seek answers to a set of questions about how our institution plans to protect us and keep us safe. Will there be extra UIC police on hand to patrol the crowd? Whose command will they be under? How does UIC plan to protect the rights and physical well being of its students in the event that the campaign asks that students be ejected from the Pavilion? How have UIC police been trained to identify and stop illegal mistreatment and endangerment of minorities and dissenters inside the Pavilion as well as public and state property surrounding the Pavilion? What are the plans to enforce the gun ban on campus, given the very real potential that conceal to carry laws mean that people not connected to UIC may have weapons with them? Who will pay for the extra security that will likely be required to ensure our students’ safety as well as all the people who work on campus? What will the guiding principals of justice, safety and security be for the various security personnel working the event?

UIC is a model for diversity and the cause of social justice. All eyes are now on us locally and nationally. Please assure us in no uncertain terms that the constitutional rights and physical safety of our students, staff, alumni, faculty and community supporters will be protected. Our student leaders demand this of us and it is their experience that we must hear. Jorge Mena, a graduate student in Latino and Latin American Studies, has quite clearly explained how Trump’s rally will effect him: “The UIC Pavilion is where I walked across the stage to receive my Bachelor’s degree as an undocumented first-generation college graduate. It is the same stage where I will receive my Masters this upcoming May. I do not want this to be the same stage where Trump threatens my family, my friends, and my community. In any other instance if known white supremacists and hate groups with a pattern of violence were found out to be planning to rally on campus, the University would likely (or hopefully) be implementing support and safety plans for students. But in this instance, it’s signing rental agreements.”

We are asking you, Provost Poser and Chief Booker to provide answers to our questions above and updates on how the UIC police will oversee any and all security forces from the campaign assigned inside or outside the Pavilion. We also request that all logotypes and UIC brand representations be covered inside the arena so that it is clear that UIC has no connection to the event. UIC should have the right to cancel the contract if the Trump organization refuses to comply with any of these actions. We also request that the University publicly distance itself from the event and make a statement that the Trump Rally is an anathema to the mission of UIC, as the university for Chicago.

We, the undersigned, are members of the UIC faculty and staff.

*List of signers will be manually updated throughout the day (181 signers as of 5:38pm CT)

  • First Name Last Name Department
    Theresa A Thorkildsen Educational Psychology
    Cristina Correa Office of Social Science Research
    Norma Lopez-Reyna Special Education
    Bruce Tyler LALS
    Julie Peters History
    Ilham Kabir Engineering. * Free speech is only free speech when it works both ways.
    Norma Lopez-Reyna Special Education
    Roberta Paikoff Holzmueller Psychiatry, Institute for Juvenile Research
    Heather Gabel Applied Health Sciences
    Ben Murray Studio Arts
    Ryan Muench School of Public Health
    Matie Ovalle Disability and Human Development
    Nathan Linsk Family Medicine
    Chris Boyer History / LALS
    Arden Handler CHS
    Marina Mogilner History
    Sophie Naji School of Public Health
    Maggie Kaufmann SPH-COIP
    America Quintero ACCC
    Karen Su Asian American Studies
    Emily Baca Anthropology
    Andy Clarno Sociology and African American Studies
    Alana Steffen College of Nursing
    Lorelei Stewart Gallery 400, Art & Art History
    Zinon Papakonstantinou History & Classics
    Elif Akcetin History
    Sekile Nzinga-Johnson Gender and Women’s Studies
    Elizabeth McManus French and Francophone Studies
    Bradley Grochocinski French and Francophone Studies
    Cristian Roa Latin American and Latino Studies
    Sue Farruggia VPUA
    Christina El Gamal Theatre
    Alisa Velonis School of Public Health, CHS
    Madelyn Thompson Engineering
    Teresa Helena Moreno African American Studies
    Margaret Kleist Retired support staff, BioS; student
    Anthony Marino Academic Computing & Communications Center
    Qeshawnda Haynes ACCC
    Pamela Popielarz Sociology
    Liam Finnegan UIC Business
    Brian Kay Biological Science
    Jessica Williams Linguistics
    Michael Gelder Disability and Human Development
    Jessica Thornton French and Francophone Studies
    Christopher Clarke School of Public Health
    Maricarmen Herrera Psychiatry
    David Dror Library
    Vincent LaMotta Anthropology
    Heather O’Leary ACCC
    Laura Nussbaum-Barberena Anthropology
    Miguel Morales Disability and Human Development
    Cedric Herring IGPA Emeritus
    hannah higgins art history
    Devangna Kapadia CHS
    Nicholas Brown English / African American Studies
    Jeni Hebert-Beirne School of Public Health
    Christina Welter Public Health
    Sloan Williams Anthropology
    Elizabeth Aguilar HIP
    Katie Philippe Kinesiology & Nutrition
    Jeffrey Wheeler History
    Juan Gonzalez Human Nutrition
    Norma Claire Moruzzi Political Science
    Molly Doane Anthropology
    Ivan Arenas Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy
    Joel Palka Anthropology and Latin American and Latino Studies
    Allyson Czadowski History
    Joe Iosbaker Office of Sustainability
    Daniel Pak LSRI
    joan kennelly School of Public Health /CHS
    David Tartakoff Mathematics
    Jennifer Gorski Disability and Human Development, and Psychiatry
    Laurence Feder
    Kathleen Rospenda Psychiatry
    Mary Anne Mohanraj English
    Jesse Malmed Art and Art History
    Sonya Leathers Social Work
    David Stovall Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies
    David Stovall Educational Policy Studies and African-
    Jennifer Reeder art and art history
    Nora Vazquez-Laslop Center for Biomolecular Sciences
    Noemi Espinosa Learning Sciences Research Institute
    Mark Chiang Asian American Studies and English
    Elizabeth Todd-Breland History
    Andy Baker Music
    Selena Smith Urban Health Program
    Alexander Mankin Center for Biomolecular Sciences, College of Pharmacy
    Ancel Montenelli Disability and Human Development
    Claudia Diaz Disabilities and Human Development
    Patrisia Macias-Rojas Sociology & LALS
    Steven Marsh Hispanic & Italian Studies
    Raymon Cunha Disability and Human Development
    Yann Robert French and Francophone Studies
    Marie Khan Graduate College
    Roger Reeves English
    Roger Reeves English
    Roger Reeves English
    Margarita Saona Hispanic and Italian Studies
    Jeanne Link Library of Health Sciences
    Sandy Magana Disability and Human Development
    MaryAnne Lyons English
    Lisa Lee Art History
    Marlene Garcia UIC Developmental Disability Clinic
    Rosa Cabrera LALS and Latino Cultural Center
    Nicole Jordan History
    Lisa Frohmann Criminology, Law and Justice
    Lynette A. Jackson Gender and Women’s Studies
    Babette Neuberger Public Health
    Margaret Miner French and Francophone Studies
    jack Fisher Design
    Sandy Sufian Medical Education
    Jesus Ramirez-Valles School of Public Health
    John Hagedorn Criminology, Law & Justice
    Joanne Malinowski UIC Extended Campus
    Irma Vazquez Urban Health Program, Admn
    Therese Quinn Art History
    Nicole Nguyen Educational Policy Studies
    Malgorzata Fidelis History
    Silvia Malagrino ART
    Aaron Krall English
    Monica Jimenez History and LALS
    Giamila Fantuzzi Kinesiology and Nutrition
    Robert Johnston History
    Nilda Flores-Gonzalez Sociology/LALS
    Christopher Keys Psychology, DHD
    Nadine Naber GWS and ASAM
    Robert Gould
    William Barrett Disability and Human Development
    Claire Decoteau Sociology
    kirk hoppe history
    Sara Hall Germanic Studies/Moving Image Arts
    Madhu Dubey English and African American Studies
    Gayatri Reddy Gender and Women’s Studies/Anthropology
    Joaquín Chávez History
    John Abbott History
    Dianna Frid Art and Art History
    Ricardo Rivero Family Medicine
    Jennifer Solheim French and Francophone Studies
    Janet Smith Urban Planning & Policy
    Janet Peters Department of Disability and Human Development
    Elena Gutierrez GWS/LALS
    Chris Stacey History
    Natasha Barnes English and African American Studies
    Ellen McClure French and Francophone Studies
    Anna Kornbluh English
    Amanda Lewis African American Studies
    Junaid Quadri History
    Laurie Schaffner Sociology
    Phoenix Matthews College of Nursing
    Lorena Garcia Sociology & LALS
    Anna Guevarra Asian American Studies
    Javier Villa-Flores History and Latin American and Latino Studies
    Ronak Kapadia Gender and Women’s Studies
    Roderick Ferguson African American and Gender and Women’s
    Cedric Johnson African American Studies/ Political Science
    Jane Rhodes African American Studies
    Jennifer Brier GWS/History
    Amalia Pallares Latin American and Latino Studies


Meanwhile the MoveOn petition to cancel the event is now over 44,000 signers. http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/cancel-trumps-rally-at?source=c.em&r_by=14230783
Source: UIC