Dublin Core




Racism, University of Illinois, University Housing


From Introduction:

The University of Illinois is committed to excellence in research, teaching, and public engagement. The university’s mission is to transform lives and to serve society by educating, creating knowledge, and putting knowledge to work within a framework of excellence. The University of Illinois serves the state, the nation, and the global market through innovation in research. In addition, the University of Illinois prepares students to live in a global society and uses the transfer and application of knowledge to meet societal needs.
This campus has been and is committed to undergraduate and graduate education. Over 30,000 undergraduate students are enrolled in nine (9) divisions that cumulatively offer over 4,000 courses in over 150 fields of study. The university has an enrollment of over 11,000 graduate students from around the world and ranks among the top five (5) universities in the nation in doctoral degrees awarded. In its 2008 rankings, U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges rated Illinois as the number 8 public university and the number 38 national university.
However, although the institution is one of the most prestigious in the nation, not everything is so glamorous. Joy A. Williamson (2003) in Black Power on Campus: The University of Illinois 1965–75 describes the institutional hostility and apathy toward individuals of color, particularly Blacks. She describes the social support mechanisms that lead to student activism and student and group solidarity and advancement. This work documents the trials and tribulations of being a student of color at Illinois during a rigid time of racial change.
At the dawn of the 21st century, higher education was faced with taking a stance on issues of multiculturalism and diversity. The affirmative action cases of Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger placed the University of Michigan at the forefront of implementing policies to diversify college campuses. Even though the decision limited the formularized use of race in college admission decisions, the University of Michigan’s core argument—which allowed for colleges and universities to implement affirmative action policies in which race could be used as a factor in admissions decisions—prevailed. This allowed for the creation of a diverse environment that leads to positive educational outcomes. Illinois, like other institutions of higher education, was affected by this decision and was tasked with documenting the positive educational outcomes diversity provides.
In response to this charge, the University of Illinois, through the Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society (CDMS), sponsored a conference in 2006 titled “Documenting the Differences Racial and Ethnic Diversity Makes.” The major objectives of this conference included determining and understanding how racial and ethnic diversity differs depending on the institutional context; discussing how to foster an environment where colleagues can address racial and ethnic diversity issues; initiating a dialogue around issues of racial and ethnic diversity on the Urbana–Champaign campus; providing an interactive atmosphere whereby participants are able to recognize and respect the pluralistic nature of race and ethnicity; and providing a context in which participants are able to discuss student life, curriculum, teaching, and research, and to brainstorm on how to create a campus climate that promotes inclusion and social justice. In his closing remarks at the conference, Chancellor Richard Herman stated:

Research presented at today’s conference adds to the growing body of evidence that confirms what many of us have always known to be true: Diversity inside and outside of the classroom enhances the campus learning environment. . . Diversity matters in the development of faculty members’ pedagogical approaches, and styles. Diversity matters because it shapes how we interact with one another, informs the research that we do, and permeates the traditions, policies, and practices we uphold. Finally, diversity matters because it helps to cultivate a welcoming campus climate and culture for all segments of our community.
The benefits of diversity were clear to the chancellor. As a result, he announced that the Documenting the Differences Diversity Makes conference would become a biannual event for the Illinois campus community and would serve as a vehicle for sharing the campus’ progress with the campus (because Illinois is decentralized) and local communities, state, and national scholars. The campus remained charged with discussions surrounding race and the role it plays on campus. In the spring of 2008, the Illinois community participated in another conference focusing on “Race, Diversity, and Campus Climate.” After many interdisciplinary sessions and discussions, it was determined at the conclusion of the conference that there is yet more work to be done.
CDMS is a unique interdisciplinary research and service institute organized around a commitment to the practice of democracy, equality, and social justice within the changing multiracial society of the United States. It includes a network of UIUC–affiliated scholars with an expertise in and sensitivity to the persistent and significant role of race in many aspects of life in the Unites States. It is important to explore the experiences of students of color in order to work to eliminate the negative academic outcomes and health effects of subtle and contemporary forms of racism on college campuses. One of the implications of this research project is to promote and foster an inclusive campus community that respects differences and offers all members an equal opportunity to engage in a diverse democracy. During the 2007–2008 academic year, the Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society (CDMS) initiated the foundation of the Racial Microaggressions Working Group. In the 2008–2009 academic year, CDMS supported research to explore the experiences of students of color as part of its work to eliminate the negative academic outcomes and health effects of subtle and contemporary forms of racism on college campuses.


Stacy Harwood, Margaret Browne Huntt, & Ruby Mendenhall


Center for Democracy in a Multiracial Society: Diversity, Inclusiveness, Research, & Equity Series



Contribution Form

Online Submission



Document Item Type Metadata



Stacy Harwood, Margaret Browne Huntt, & Ruby Mendenhall, "RACIAL MICROAGGRESSIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA–CHAMPAIGN: VOICES OF STUDENTS OF COLOR LIVING IN UNIVERSITY HOUSING," in eBlack Champaign-Urbana, Item #820, http://eblackcu.net/portal/items/show/820 (accessed September 24, 2022).

Social Bookmarking

File: Racial Microaggression Report.pdf

File: 2011-02-07 Flyer for Racial Micro-Aggressions Presentation Final.pdf