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 CHENA BAITY DHD/STUDENT AFFAIRS 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