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06 December 2017, 09:43 | Silvia Roy
Bus company subpoenaed after sending out offensive ad
University of IL school system administrators issued a statement in response, saying the bus company has "a long history of taking advantage of students, staff and faculty...[the email] once again demonstrated the company's disregard and disdain towards the values of inclusivity that define our university".
Suburban Express grew and grew, and the University of IL grew and changed. "These types of racist and bigoted statements attacking any members of our community deserve nothing but condemnation from all of us", the university said in a strongly worded statement.
Currently, about 11,000 of the school's approximately 45,000 graduates and undergraduates are global students, according to Kaler, with about 6,000 coming from China. A subsequent statement issued by Suburban Express criticized the university's enrollment of worldwide students. "That's because they all ride our competitor now".
Pawar said he wanted the company to "come talk to the City Council about their stance on diversity, how they could have allowed a statement like this to go out knowing that they serve large number of travelers of various backgrounds, and why they think that we, as city government, should allow them to continue operating out of the airport given their ugly stances".
Suburban Express eventually attempted to walk back its statements on Tuesday, saying the promotion was "grotesquely xenophobic in nature" and the followup email attempted to "excuse a wrongfully nationalist statement".
In 2013, Toeppen sued 126 students in small claims court in Ford County for violating the company's "terms and conditions", such as printing out and sharing multiple copies of their online tickets, using tickets on the wrong date or altering the dates on printed copies.
But he noted that he still sees Suburban Express shuttles dropping off students directly in front of UI property, including the UI Ice Arena. For years, the company has adopted an aggressive stance in criticizing customers it says violated its policies and toward competing bus companies, which it has disparaged on its website.
The remarks were instantly met with criticism for targeting individuals of Chinese descent, which prompted a follow-up email statement from the company that confirmed the comments were made to insult. We meant them no harm, and we felt we were being unjustly punished.
When we wrote a recent promotional email, we mentioned that Suburban Express riders would not encounter Chinese exchange students on our buses. "It was an ill-advised statement to make, because it upset the very people we were sad to have lost". Anyone who says otherwise is trying to further their own agenda.
"We apologize for our insensitive statement, and we hope to do a better job of unifying the campus community in the future, from our office in the heart of Campustown", the statement said.
"We call on the Illinois Attorney General's office and other relevant authorities to open a legal investigation into this discriminatory advertisement, and we will be following any such investigation closely", Illini Democrats stated.
The second statement also provided further rationale for the controversial ad.
'We must conceded that we disagree with the way that the way the University of IL is being run. Although we have never prevented any student of any demographic from boarding our bus simply because of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender orientation or nationality, the comments made have created the image that Chinese exchange students are not welcome, and we are striving to change this.
"We can not prevent a private company from operating in our community", part of the statement from the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs read.
We are looking forward to working with all students, organizations, and IL officials on this matter.
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