Racially charged pro-Trump messages were found on the University of Illinois campus this week, sparking concern from school administrators.
University of Illinois administrators sent an e-mail Wednesday to University of Illinois students, faculty and staff to address the inflammatory anti-immigration messages written in chalk near the school’s quad.
The messages, which were written near the school’s Latina/Latino Studies building, clearly allude to the Republican presidential frontrunner’s policies on Mexican immigration.
Reports of a variety of messages- including “They have to go back #Trump,” “Build the Wall” and “Trump Deportation Force”- have created a serious backlash at the school.
“Throughout the academic year, we will see and hear perspectives that anger and even frighten us,” the letter said. “Last semester, we saw incidents in social media. This week, it was chalking on the Quad.”
Last November, the University of Illinois’ White Student Union, which characterizes itself as “the first white student organization on campus,” drew criticism after referring to the Black Lives Matter movement as “terrorism.”
“These are often painful moments for our students, faculty and staff and we need to support one another as we strive to address divisive issues in society,” the letter added added.
The letter, co-signed by Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson, Interim Provost Edward Feser and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Renee Romano, claims that the university values “respectful discourse” but also understands “that offensive speech is protected by the First Amendment.”
Messages have cropped up at other universities across the country, as well. The University of Michigan has seen two separate incidents of anti-Islam and pro-Trump chalking in recent weeks.
On Thursday, messages reading “No Turkey, Qatar, Saudi, Pakistan,” and “Trump 16” were found scrawled across that campus.
In their letter, U of I’s administration directed students to use campus resources to voice future concerns and promoted “constructive dialogue that encompasses the widest range of views and voices.”