Wise responds to hostile comments

By Erica Quednau | equednau@wcia.com

Published 01/30 2014 05:14PM

Updated 01/30 2014 06:11PM

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise is reacting to criticism for not canceling class Monday. She says how some students reacted was juvenile and vulgar. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau learns about a letter explaining the chancellor's feelings.

The letter is short and to the point. She says she didn't take the comments personally, but realized the university has a long way to go in terms of accepting diversity.

It wasn't the way many students at UI planned to spend their Monday; cold, miserable and walking to class. So, many shared their thoughts on social media and they weren't nice ones. Soon, comments turned racist and sexist against Chancellor Wise.

She responded to the incidents in a letter stating, "People have asked me whether the attacks disturbed me. Yes, who wouldn't feel the same?"

In some instances, the comments turned threatening.

Wise stated, "I shudder to think what might happen if that type of vitriol were directed at a vulnerable member of our student body or university community."

But, in the end, Wise sticks by her decision and says making them is her job.

"On Monday, January 27, we held classes as usual at the University of Illinois and I hope, we all learned something."

Wise added in her letter the UI is a diverse campus, with students from every state and more than 100 nations. But, this incident proves students still have a lot to learn. She says debate is encouraged, but it has to be in a safe environment.

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