University News

Letter to University Community

December 15, 2014

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To our University Community:

As many of you are aware, an incident occurred on our campus Friday evening following a student-sponsored event in the University Union. The fighting that took place outside of the University Union resulted in police involvement and arrests. As such, the situation was captured on video and has been picked up by national media.

I am extremely disappointed, and quite frankly, appalled, that a few individuals who chose to engage in fighting marred an end of the year celebration and damaged this University's reputation because of their inexcusable actions.

Fighting and other acts of violence are not, and will not be, tolerated at this University. Those who insist on engaging in this type of behavior will be expelled. We do not want individuals at our University who incite violence and engage in inappropriate behavior. It is because of a select few that Western has appeared in an unfavorable light throughout the country this weekend.

We cannot let this be the image of Western Illinois University, and we cannot let this incident define our University. We must move past this, and I am asking everyone to work together to make things better at Western. We have so much for which to be proud. On Dec. 12, a well-organized march and rally were orchestrated by students, along with faculty and staff organizations. More than 200 people gathered to show their support for peace and justice. This is the Western Illinois University that must be at the forefront.

I would like to express my gratitude to the outstanding students we have on this campus. There are far more of you than the few who choose to break the law and engage in criminal activity. Unfortunately, it is the non-law-abiding students and visitors who cast a disparaging light on our University. As noted previously, those students will not be allowed to remain enrolled at Western Illinois University.

Following the holiday break, I will host a series of meetings to discuss this incident and other issues. Together we must ensure our campus remains a safe and peaceful place of higher learning.

Thank you for your support.

Jack Thomas
Western Illinois University

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing