DeLetto_and_Rasinski - Christopher DeLetto and Matthew Rasinski Rhetoric 105 Spring 2010 Segregation in Housing at the University of Illinois The

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Unformatted text preview: Christopher DeLetto and Matthew Rasinski Rhetoric 105, Spring 2010 Segregation in Housing at the University of Illinois The Dean of the Business School, Larry DeBrock, boasted in his speech during our vocational introduction that the University of Illinois prides itself as being one of the most diverse campuses in the Big Ten1. However, when walking around campus, resident halls especially, we began to question why the University of Illinois’ housing mission to, “enrich the academic development and enhance the integration of our diverse student body into the campus community through our programs, personnel, services, and facilities2” seemed anything but evident. This led us to our question: is University Housing intentionally segregated by race due to policies and procedures which are currently in place here at the University of Illinois? As students at the University of Illinois, we look to the University to be a beacon of knowledge towards cultural diversity and campus unity. Prior to the 1960s, segregated campus housing was not abnormal by any means. Students applying for housing, campus wide, were not always judged according to their merit, but rather by their race or religion. It was not until the Board of Trustees adopted a policy in 1962, which stated: “From and after September 1, 1965, single undergraduate students will not be permitted to reside in commercially operated rooming houses in which occupants are selected on the basis of race, creed, or national origin3.” 

 1 Campus Resources Places that Make a Difference Brady, Claire, Mark Goldman, and Herb Jones 3 Dean of Students 2 This excerpt was directly taken from the Board of Trustees meeting minutes and given to the student body for consecutive years as a reminder of a newly enacted University policy. From this, it is evident that the University identified racial segregation as a major issue on campus. This was the first time the Board of Trustees took direct action to end racial segregation in campus housing. As a matter of fact, beginning in 1946, the University began addressing a series of policy changes to eliminate racial segregation in housing: 1. 1946 – The Board of Trustees reaffirmed its position “to continue a policy of long standing which will favor and strengthen those attitudes and social philosophies which are necessary to create a community atmosphere in which race, prejudices can not thrive.” 2. 1955 – The Director of housing writes a letter to the operators of rooming houses that the University serves all students with regard to race, religion, or nationality and urged operators to “follow the same policy in assigning your [their] facilities.” Also the president of the University made the statement that the University “deplores any discrimination on the part of operators and will encourage land lords and businesses to follow University standards and practices.” 3. 1958 – The University issued a Code of Fair Educational Practice guaranteeing the traditional freedom from discrimination in all areas of the University. This included pledges going to rooming housing operators asking them to agree not to discriminate as to “race, color, religious preference, or national origin.” 4. 1960 – A revision of the Code of Fair Educational Practices was made in which any newly established commercial rooming housing would not receive University approval unless the owners agreed not to discriminate. 5. 1962 – President recommended to the Board of Trustees that September 1, 1965, be established as the date by which all owners or operators of commercially operated rooming houses would be expected to indicate that their facilities are available to all students without regard to race, creed, or national origin. 6. 1963 – February 12, the provost authorized the Director of Housing to exclude from the list of non-approved housing units maintained by the Housing Division, those units whose operators had not filed a pledge of non-discrimination in the selection of tenants. This policy was put into effect March 15.4 In an attempt to further prevent racial segregation and to enforce these policy changes, the University mandated landlords to sign contracts5 that prohibited the use of “race, color, religious preferences, or national origin” to determine if a student was deemed fit to live in a given residence. This policy was intended to help pave the road for generations to come so that future students would live in a diverse and united community. In search of a solution to our question, whether University Housing is racially segregated due to University policies and procedures currently in place, we ventured to the University Archives. Chris Prom, the assistant University Archivist6, helped pull numerous books, boxes, and scrapbooks. In doing so, he brought to our attention that even if the University chose to racially segregate housing, it would be very difficult to find any written proof in the archives, 

 4 Dean of Students Contract 6 About the University of Illinois Archives | U. Illinois Archives
 5 due to the fact that they maintain being a diversified student body, which provides equal opportunities and freedoms for all students. After the 1965 housing resolution, the University did everything it could to prevent racial segregation while at the same time not imposing on individual freedoms of choice. Therefore, we realized that racial segregation in University Housing was beyond the University’s control and now up to the student’s free will to comingle. In turn, we recognized that our greatest asset in uncovering the possibility of racial segregation in University Housing would be firsthand accounts by students. Joshua Myers and Juan Pablo Herrera-Urizar wrote a research paper7 in 2006, which culturally mapped the dormitories. They brought two overarching ideas to the table which addressed the fact that the students, and University alike, are at fault in racially segregating University Housing. The first argument was that too many students requested to live with their friends of similar ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This posed a problem because this prevented University Housing from being truly diversified. Then, Meyers and Herrera-Urizar attempted to show that the University averted acting upon signs of an increase in segregation in University Housing due to pre-determined roommates. Myers and Herrera-Urizar attempted to prove this by getting hold of publicly funded statistics from University Housing, which reside in Clark Hall. However, after repeated strenuous requests, Administrator, Spencer D. Cole, who oversaw assignments for the housing department, failed to provide vital information pertaining to the demographic distribution of students in University Housing. With this lack of transparency, Myers and Herrera-Urizar took alternative measures in determining if University Housing leaves room for racial segregation. Students attend the University of Illinois to specialize in a specific skill set, but also to become well-rounded individuals: ones who partake as active members of society and whom 

Meyers, Joshua, and Juan Pablo Herrera-Urizar
 uphold the ideals taught to them at this University. Yet, fostering segregation would contradict those ideals. Segregation condones the creation of a false social hierarchy that has no relevance in this University, and definitely no place in society. The importance of this issue resides in the fact that segregation without choice must be prevented. Then why, from a student’s perspective8, is it that a majority of African American, Latino, and Asian students all live in PAR/FAR, but Bromley Hall and Six Pack are jammed with mostly Caucasian students? Is it the University’s doing? According to interviews conducted by Joshua Myers and Juan Pablo Herrera-Urizar, 10/10 students from FAR, 9/10 students from PAR, and 17/20 students from Six Pack agreed with question #6, which stated, “Some say that FAR/PAR has the largest concentration of minorities and international students, whereas the ‘Six Pack’ is predominantly white9.” The four students who did not agree with this statement were those who had no previous exposure to the opposing dormitories. Therefore, every student who had prior knowledge of the cultural make up of each dormitory agreed with the apparent racial segregation. These student’s opinions directly contradict the University’s Housing mission statement10. It is apparent that this seemingly simple issue is actually much more complex in reality. After reviewing and analyzing our data and comparing it to what the historical archives claim, it is hard for us to believe that racial segregation is fabricated intentionally. Social behaviors may be to blame for racial segregation to a certain extent, but we also believe University Housing has influenced this issue. The lack of transparency in the demographic distribution of University Housing raises further questions about the University and is something we intend to look into in more detail. As of right now, one thing is for certain: diversity is a limited commodity here at the University of Illinois. It can be argued that segregation is a natural 

 8 Interview by Joshua Meyers, and Juan Pablo Herrera-Urizar Interview by Joshua Meyers, and Juan Pablo Herrera-Urizar 10 Brady, Claire, Mark Goldman, and Herb Jones 9 and recurring phenomenon11. Cultures, religions, and similar ways of life helps bring people together and in the midst of finding individuals similar to oneself one may notice a division. The University can enforce rules and regulations against racial segregation, but perhaps it can be stated that racial segregation is a preference, a way of keeping the minority feeling a little less of a minority. We, the students, are the biggest stakeholders in this fundamental issue because we are the ones directly affected by the level of segregated housing here at the University of Illinois. A limitation to our data is the extent to which housing is segregated, this information is strictly off-limits to the public even though there have been countless requests to study and analyze the information. One can also argue whether segregation is an unavoidable phenomenon and whether there can be a policy that forces the student body to live in a multi-cultural environment rather than a concentrated one. These are the questions that would need further research and analysis in order to conclude precisely whether racially segregated housing is in fact an issue which takes away from the University experience, or whether segregation is an unavoidable phenomenon which makes the college experience feel a little bit more like home. 

 11 Jines, Chuck Works Cited "About the University of Illinois Archives | U. Illinois Archives." University Library at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2010. <>. Brady, Claire, Mark Goldman, and Herb Jones. "UNIVERSITY HOUSING-RESIDENTIAL LIFE." Google. N.p., 10 Dec. 2008. Web. 29 Mar. 2010. < w/IlliAACAcademicAdvisers/Files/Res_life_ho_12-102008.doc+benefits+of+living+in+university+housing&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&cli ent=google-coop-np>. "Campus Resources Places that Make a Difference." Inclusive Illinois Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2010. <>. Contract: University of Illinois Housing Division (see attached form) Dean of Students. "University Efforst to Eliminate Discrimination in Housing." University of Illinois Student Letter 2.6 (1965): 1-4. Print. Interview by Joshua Meyers, and Juan Pablo Herrera-Urizar. IDEAL. 15 Dec. 2006. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. <>. Jines, Chuck. "A Look at Forced and Natural Segregation | StreetWisePundit." Chicago: Politics Portal Blog - Conservative Renaissance. N.p., 27 Aug. 2009. Web. 16 Mar. 2010. <>. Meyers, Joshua, and Juan Pablo Herrera-Urizar. Cultural Mapping of Dorms. IDEALS. 15 Dec. 2006. Web. 16 Mar. 2010. < =5>. ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2011 for the course ECON 103 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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