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Easter on campus safety: “Objective is not to become a police state”

Full text of email from UIUC Interim Chancellor Robert Easter sent this afternoon:

TO: Students, Faculty Staff, Alumni and Other Members of our Campus

Over the past three months there has been an increase in batteries, robberies and similar crimes on the Champaign-Urbana campus. The campus has responded quickly with a focused determination and we will continue to take any and all necessary steps to end this trend.

We are mindful that there is much anxiety in our community. That is why we are holding a Town Hall Meeting on Campus Safety at 3 p.m., Saturday, November 13, at Illini Union’s Courtyard Cafe. The Chief of Police, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Director of Housing and the Dean of Students will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about campus safety programs. The event will be streamed live at as well as for viewing at a later time. Questions may be phoned in during the meeting at 217-244-8938.

Several key measures we have taken to date:

  • Authorized the hiring of three additional police officers and unlimited overtime for the police department.
  • Installed dozens of cameras in high-crime areas and more than 200 in total across campus.
  • Worked with the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) to use their cameras and locations to install more cameras.
  • Increased student patrols, and aggressively promoted our SafeWalks and SafeRides programs.
  • Increased security in residence halls. University Housing has locked all outside security doors in all halls.
  • Facilitated a meeting of city administrators from Champaign and Urbana, including police chiefs and the Champaign County Sheriff, to create a process for increased coordination and cooperation among the four departments. All departments and the Sheriff’s Office are expending large amounts of overtime to solve this issue, saturating the Campus District for the last three weekends with increased patrols. In recent weeks police have made more than 25 apprehensions surrounding campus assaults and robberies.

For an important FAQ with University of Illinois Police Chief Barb O’Connor go to:

We will not tolerate attacks on our students, employees or visitors to our campus. We realize that our university is a public institution and our objective is not to become a police state. However, extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary responses. Moving forward, we will act in the best interest of our campus community and we will continue to do whatever it takes to meet and exceed everyone’s expectation of safety.

Robert A. Easter
Chancellor and Provost (Interim)

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