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State wire briefs

U of Illinois faculty petitions against hate speech

URBANA – Several University of Illinois academic units have pressed administrators to take a stance against words and actions they said threaten students amid tense debates on what constitutes free speech.

Chancellor Robert Jones sent out a mass email two weeks ago responding to concerns that include Chief-related “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day” T-shirts, harassment of Muslim students, anti-immigrant messages on the quad and the defacing of an Israeli flag at a protest. Jones asked the campus to combat hateful speech with “speech that builds connections and shared understanding,” the News-Gazette reported.

But faculty from African-American Studies, American-Indian Studies, Asian-American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Latino Studies challenged Jones with a petition last week on “Racism and ‘Free Speech.’ ”

The petition said Jones’ email was “insufficient at best.”

“The refusal on the part of the University of Illinois to denounce even the content of the messages or the threats themselves only emboldens students to continue these and related acts of intimidation, safe in the knowledge that the university will do little to protect students from harm,” the petition read. “Furthermore, the administration’s approach has made some students more vulnerable than others.”

Jones acknowledged at a campus Senate hearing that his email didn’t properly communicate the university’s “core values,” but took offense to the petition’s suggestion that the school’s approach represented a tolerance for “xenophobia, racism, as well as white supremacy, as forms of free speech.”

Immigration officials shift where deportees are held

CHICAGO – Immigration officials in the Chicago area have shifted where they detain immigrants being deported to Mexico.

Instead of transferring them to a processing center in suburban Broadview, they are sent about 70 miles from Chicago to the Kankakee County Detention Center.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman said the shift began March 3 to make better use of agency resources and a “smoother process” for visiting families.

There are roughly 130 detainees in Kankakee currently. Chicago’s WBEZ first reported the change.

Immigration attorneys and advocates criticize the move for a lack of transparency.

They also argue that family members wanting to visit relatives before they’re deported have to travel farther.

ICE officials said they’re committed to ensuring the legal rights and the physical and mental well-being of those detained.

Weekend shootings in Chicago leave 3 dead

CHICAGO – Shootings in Chicago this weekend left three people dead – including a man who was shot on the city’s far North Side when he climbed off a party bus.

Police said two other men were also shot when someone opened fire from an SUV at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. Twenty-eight-year-old Quentin Payton of Chicago was pronounced dead a short time later. The wounded men were taken to area hospitals and information about their conditions wasn’t immediately released.

Police said that two other men were killed Saturday in separate shootings on the South Side.
Thirty-four-year-old Jarrod Johnson was killed early Saturday and on Saturday night the body of a man was found inside a vehicle. His name hasn’t been released.
No arrests have been made in any of the shootings.

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