Joint Statement in Response to Suburban Express Ad


December 4, 2017

To the Members of the Campus and Community:

Last Saturday, the Chinese student community was directly attacked by Suburban Express with remarks in their Christmas promotion email and the subsequent “Apology” email. In those public posts, Suburban Express made racist comments like “Passengers like you. You won’t feel like you are in China when you’re on our buses” and stated that the “high percentage of [non-native] English speakers places a variety of burdens on domestic students.” The Chinese student community, along with other Asian student communities, regards those remarks as a serious insult and an act of racism against us all.

It has been well over a century since our diverse background became an integral part of this great university. As of Fall 2017, there are 47,826 students enrolled at UIUC, and 8,299 (17.35%) are Asian students¹, who have origins from more than 15 countries. Over the years, people have been working hard to promote a respectful and inclusive environment. By engaging with people from different backgrounds, we have broadened our perspective and extended our horizons. The fact that Suburban Express falsely stated the percentage of Chinese students as 20% is fallacious, and discourteous to all people in the community who spent their effort to promote diversity and inclusiveness.

Regardless of one’s origin and race, we have a common identity as the students of the U of I, and share the same dream of making our university proud. Therefore, as a united entity, we do not and will not tolerate discrimination and inequality of any kind. Equality is a right of every human being and should be defended under all circumstances. This proclamation is not the beginning, nor the end of our fight against racism or any other forms of discrimination. If you agree with and support this belief, join us in speaking out against these unjust behaviors.

Lastly, we understand the emotions that many of us hold after the release of those emails. We have, and will continue, to stay close to this case and fight against racism. In light of this situation, we ask that everyone remain calm throughout this process and fight back using the most effective way, such as “filing complaints against [Suburban Express] online or call [Madigan’s] office at 1-877-581-3692”, as suggested by the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan‘s office. We appreciate those who have reached out to us regarding this matter. With the support of each and every one of you, we can unite together to provide a safer environment for all of us.


Chinese Students and Scholars Association

Taiwanese Students Association

Taiwanese American Students Club

Korean Students Association

Asian American Association

Hong Kong Student Association