Recent acts of racism, antisemitism, and prejudice on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus—from the placement of a noose in Allen Hall over Labor Day weekend 2019 to the presence of a Holocaust denier on the quad on September 10—remind us of the grave dangers evident in the broad-ranging demonstrations of hate that are being encouraged in our current institutional, local, national, and global climate. The Department of History at the University of Illinois joins with our colleagues in the African American Studies Department and in other units to condemn these incidents and the climate of disrespect and violence that such acts reflect and produce. We confirm our commitment to both academic and civic work that challenges the view that these are simply the acts of misguided individuals. As historians we know the high cost of ignoring structural explanations and the equally high price that racialized and religious minorities, indigenous communities, women, and LGBTQ people pay when institutionalized forms of racism, sexism, antisemitism, homophobia, and xenophobia go unchallenged. We call for our campus administrators to hold perpetrators accountable. We urge all members of our community to remember the responsibility that each of us has for fostering a campus and Champaign-Urbana community where difference is respected as a core element of our work as students, teachers and co-workers.
Statement voted upon and adopted by the History Department Faculty on Wednesday, September 25.