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Remembering Dean Clarence Shelley

January 21, 2022

Dean Clarence ShelleyDear Campus Community, Alumni, and Friends:

It is with deep sadness that I share the passing of our friend and former colleague, Clarence Shelley. Dean Shelley was named Dean of Students in 1974, and in 1984 he became Assistant Vice Chancellor, then Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and finally Special Assistant to the Chancellor. He was integral to the establishment of the Special Educational Opportunities Program (Project 500), the first extensive effort by the University of Illinois to offer equal educational opportunities for all the residents of Illinois. Spurred by the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, he, students, and community residents urged the University to enroll students traditionally underrepresented on campus. In 1967, only 372 out of 30,400 students were Black. In 1968, 565 newly admitted African American and Latino students entered the student body. If it were not for Dean Shelley’s firmly held convictions and steadfast dedication to creating and upholding equality and justice, multitudes of underrepresented students, then and now, could never have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and pursue their dreams at the University.

Dean Shelley was also many things to many people: a friend, a mentor, a colleague, a leader, and a role model. He was the kind of person people turned to when they needed wisdom, a kind word, a helping hand, or the courage to drive change. He created a place at the University of Illinois where Black students, staff, and faculty could celebrate their heritage authentically and contribute to the scholarship and campus life that make the University so special. Words cannot express how deeply grateful the University is that Dean Shelley chose to share his passion and gifts with countless students, faculty, and staff members here.

I too experienced the warmth and giving nature Dean Shelley exhibited. I recall with fondness the first time I met Dean Shelley during my early days on campus. He made it a point to welcome me and to share his expertise and knowledge with me, so I would be in the best position possible to succeed in my new role as vice chancellor. I count myself very blessed to have had the pleasure of knowing Dean Shelley.

I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and loved ones during this difficult time. I hope they can take comfort in knowing that while Dean Shelley will be greatly missed, his legacy lives on in those who were lucky enough to be part of his journey at Illinois. 

With heartfelt condolences,

Danita M. Brown Young, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Statement Regarding ISG Resolution 9-23-2020

September 23, 2020

Illinois Student Government (ISG) is an independent organization that can pass non-binding resolutions on any topic it chooses. It is unfortunate that a resolution before the group tonight was designed to force students who oppose efforts to divest from Israel to also vote against support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

We are committed to dialogue and to supporting students as they navigate challenging conversations, and we will continue to plan programming designed to build understanding of different perspectives on complex and divisive issues.

This resolution includes several points on which we can agree, but a foundational value of this institution is inclusion, and this resolution includes language that we cannot and will not support. As one of the country’s top public universities, we find ourselves in the difficult position of defending speech and expression, so we can talk together about difficult circumstances and have uncomfortable conversations. We must always balance that with our need to create a community where it is safe to live, learn and work.

Our Student Affairs office and Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are engaged in efforts to build a community that advances inclusive excellence and that values diversity.

We invite ISG, its members and all students to partner with us in this most critical initiative.

Robert J. Jones

Andreas C. Cangellaris
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

Danita M. B. Young
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Sean Garrick
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Barry Benson
Vice Chancellor for Advancement

Susan Martinis
Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation

Social Media Postings Do Not Reflect Our Values

June 3, 2020

We have received a number of messages regarding posts under the title “Illini White Student Union.” We have reported this page multiple times in the past and it continues to periodically resurface in slightly different forms. We've reported it again to Facebook. We don’t know who has created the account, and only Facebook has the ability to take the page down.

This page in any form is in opposition to our university values of respect and inclusivity. Our statement from the first appearance of this page in 2015 continues to fully represent the university’s position in every instance it resurfaces. The full original statement is below and can be viewed at

Nov. 18, 2015

Today’s social media postings under the title “Illini White Student Union” clearly were offensive to our university community. We have notified Facebook of the page and asked for its removal, as it violates the company’s own standards. We also are reaching out directly to those responsible for the postings notifying them that the usage of our name is in violation of our trademark rights and ordering them to cease and desist.

Posts and pages such as these stand in complete opposition to the values of mutual respect and community that define the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While they may be protected exercises of free speech, they are offensive, divisive and stunningly narrow-minded expressions.

Just because someone has the power to make a statement does not mean that we should give those words weight or value.

Renee Romano

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

OIIR Statement Regarding Zoombombing

April 3, 2020

We write to report a series of disturbing incidents of racism, antisemitism, and hate that have occurred in virtual Zoom sessions across campus. In many of these situations, a number of individuals allegedly unaffiliated with the university have engaged in racist, antisemitic, homophobic, sexist, and other derogatory slurs, showed images of swastikas, and made threats of violence. Especially concerning, these attacks have targeted events focused on promoting tolerance and understanding and have directed personal attacks at individuals. This behavior matches patterns nationwide of so-called “Zoombombing,” and the campus is working with authorities to identify the individuals responsible.

We want to share our response in addressing this behavior and provide resources you might find helpful. First, these incidents have been reported to the University of Illinois Police Department, the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, the Bias Assessment and Response Team, campus IT Security, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and the Office of the Chancellor. In addition, OIIR and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs is working with IT Security to enhance security practices to stop attacks in our meetings, courses, and events. In addition, we have hosted virtual space for individuals directly impacted to process this experience.

Whether witnessed in person or later via social media, this behavior is disturbing, jarring, and upsetting. The Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations has reached out to individuals directly impacted by these attacks and provided them with resources for additional support. If you have been impacted directly or indirectly by the Zoom attacks, the following list includes available support and reporting resources for students.

These attacks necessitate continued action and conversation. We extend our appreciation to the students, staff, and faculty who have spoken up and out against the bigotry and hatred experienced in these incidents, and we continue to seek justice for all forms of bias, hate, and discrimination. As a campus community, we stand together stronger through our collective voice and actions to speak out against injustice; collectively, we are more powerful than those who might seek to harass, threaten, or dismiss us.


Shawna Patterson-Stephens, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
Director, Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations

Statement Regarding ISG res.03.61: Violations of Human Rights in University Investment

February 12, 2020

Illinois Student Government (ISG) is an independent organization that can pass non-binding resolutions on any topic it chooses. It provides students the opportunity to engage in discourse on issues such as this one that have been debated around the world for centuries, but does not represent the university administration.

ISG resolutions are non-binding, and the university has no plans to act on this one. We are committed to dialogue and to supporting students as they navigate challenging conversations about diversity and inclusion, and we will continue to plan programming designed to build understanding of different perspectives on complex and divisive issues.

Statement on DACA Students at Illinois

September 6, 2017

Today, the White House has formally announced the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, affecting nearly 800,000 people who were brought to the US as children. While we are just beginning to understand the full impact of this announcement, and the uncertainty created by it, this threat to our undocumented and DACA students is a call for us to support, listen to, and advocate for them. Below are resources and statements provided by the University of Illinois:

Resources from the Office of Inclusion & Intercultural Relations (OIIR)

Statement from Chancellor Jones, Interim Provost Wilkin, and Vice Chancellor Young - September 5, 2017

Open Illinois

Open Illinois ( provides information, resources and guidance for undocumented, DACA, and those impacted by immigration reform.