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Office for Student Conflict Resolution

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Acts of Intolerance

The Office of the Dean of Students facilitates awareness of bias incidents and hate crimes and encourages all members of the University to reports acts of intolerance.

Hate Is Not Innate

"Intolerance: a veil worn to disguise fear and ignorance."
~ Binda Fraser

As the University becomes increasingly diverse with faculty, staff, and students hailing from multiple countries, rural and urban cities, homogenous communities, and practicing various religious beliefs, we have greater opportunities to learn and interact with people from different cultures more than ever before. Concomitantly, however, because of increased diversity, hate crimes and bias-motivated activity are occurring with greater frequency on college campuses. For some, arrival to the University is the first time they have encountered persons from such different backgrounds.

  • A Puerto Rican freshman student shares a dorm room with a freshman Buddhist student.
  • A Chinese instructor has an African American student in her 300 level engineering course.
  • A group of predominantly White students pass a group of Muslim students leaving the Mosque Friday night.
  • A group of intoxicated female students attend a fraternity party at which almost all partygoers are intoxicated.
  • A Jewish student is paired with an openly lesbian student for a group project.
  • An Indian graduate student must work with a Hispanic staff member to assess the retention rate of graduate students across disciplines.
  • Two international students pass a large group of African American and Latino students at 2:00 am as a party is ending.
  • A chemistry professor has a graduate student who suffers from severe depression and anxiety as an advisee.

Most often, these encounters occur without incident. Occasionally, however, these interactions are clouded by stereotypes, ignorance, and bias and result in seemingly minor acts of intolerance (such as insensitive "joking") to criminal activity (such as assault).

The University's ongoing effort to create an environment that respects the rights of individual free speech and thought while valuing individual difference, is not a simple or trivial task, but one that is essential to fostering an engaged community. In an increasingly diverse society, the University instills in its students respect and appreciation of all cultures. The Office of the Dean of Students encourages all university constituents to use the university as a forum to engage in meaningful dialogue to better understand others' values, norms, and mores. By doing so, a more enlightened citizenry will emerge.

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