NEIU to remain a ‘welcoming place for all’


Pablo Medina

Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared Chicago a “sanctuary city”; NEIU leadership promises to keep the school’s traits of diversity and inclusion.

Rut Ortiz, News Editor

Four bathroom stalls with racially charged graffiti written on them were discovered in a men’s bathroom on the first floor of BBH.

NEIU Police Chief John Escalante said that police were notified in the early afternoon on Nov. 15. He said that the doors had racially insensitive rhetoric that promoted the segregation of stalls by ethnicity.

The result of the presidential election has left many of those who did not vote for President-elect Trump in fear and weeping at the prospect of an unknown future within the United States. This result incited protests across the nation, from Los Angeles to Boston. Chicagoans rallied in front of Trump Towers at least three consecutive nights, chanting phrases such as “Not my president” and “F— Trump.”   

If the president-elect lives up to the promises he made during his campaign, millions of people will be deported and NEIU is home to a population of undocumented students.

Interim President Richard Helldobler said in an email on Nov. 17, “No matter what happens, the election results won’t change the University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Northeastern will continue to be a welcoming place for all, from all backgrounds and experiences, of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions, and whatever their immigration status.”

This secondary email assuring students that NEIU would remain a safe space came eight days after the primary email from the Helldobler wherein he said: “Last night the country chose its 45th president. We respect democracy and the intentions of all those who cast votes in this election. As with the conclusion of every election cycle now is the time to come together as a country and a community while still working toward a more perfect union on the issues that still divide us.

“A change in the White House will not alter Northeastern’s commitment to our Mission and the diversity of all members of our community, including those who are women, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, LGBTQA, undocumented, and others. We must as a community put our collective arms around those on both sides of the political aisle who have been the targets of the divisive rhetoric of this election cycle.”

This outlook has not been fully adopted across the nation.

CNN published a recent article chronicling the spike in post-election hate crimes. Racist and anti-Semitic graffiti was recorded in a picture from Wellsville, New York showing a swastika spray painted on a dugout surrounded by the words, “Make America White Again” echoing CNN’s headline of the same theme.

The article reported that a Muslim student in Michigan was approached by a man who threatened to set her on fire if she did not remove her hijab; slurs such as “Whites Only,” “Trump,” and “Go back to Africa” were scrawled in a bathroom in Minnesota; Nazi-themed graffiti hailing the new president-elect was found in Philadelphia and a student in California handed out “deportation letters” to his classmates.

These are only a handful of occurrences that have surfaced after Election Day.

Dr. Daniel Lopez, vice-president for Student Affairs said in an email, “Northeastern Illinois University is committed to celebrating the diversity of all members of our community, including those who are women, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, LGBTQA, undocumented, and others. The recent presidential election has been a catalyst for expressing many viewpoints, some of which may have offended you or caused you to have negative feelings.

“I want to make sure you are aware of resources that may benefit you as you work through your feelings about the recent presidential election and the discussions you are having.”

In a Fox News article published on Nov. 17, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel convened with mayors from America’s major cities such as LA, New York and Boston and declared their cities as “sanctuary cities.” A sanctuary city is one where local law enforcement is not obligated to report to the federal government the immigration status of the people they are in contact with on a daily basis.

According to Fox News, Emanuel assured that Chicago will remain a safe place during a press conference.

“To all those who are, after Tuesday’s election, very nervous and filled with anxiety as we’ve spoken to, you are safe in Chicago, you are secure in Chicago and you are supported in Chicago. Chicago will always be a sanctuary city,” he said.

ABC7 Chicago reported on Nov. 10 that a similar disturbance occurred at a high school in Gurnee where bathroom stalls were scrawled with the same message. Escalante said that although there is an ongoing investigation, NEIU Police have not come to any conclusions as to the person responsible and no one is in custody.

“What we’re thinking, and hopefully this is all it is, is someone that was very ignorant and as we call a ‘copycat’ who probably saw this on the news and probably chose to do the same thing here unfortunately,” Escalante said.