Letter to the Editor: Response to 2020 EIU Homecoming Theme

This letter was submitted by the 2020 EIU Homecoming Student Steering Committee and the 2020 EIU Homecoming Advisory Committee.

In recent days, representatives of the EIU Homecoming Steering Committee and Student Life Office have become aware that the 2020 EIU Homecoming Theme has come under criticism. It is important to recognize the context and process that led to the selection of the 2020 EIU Homecoming Theme comes from the title song by artist Prince – Party Like It’s 1999.

The EIU Homecoming Advisory Committee comprised EIU faculty, staff, and student representatives and the UB Homecoming Steering Committee comprised of EIU student representatives across the EIU community played an integral role in the selection of the EIU Homecoming theme.

In the Spring 2020, a campus-wide survey provided the EIU community the opportunity to vote on the selection of the 2020 EIU Homecoming Theme, which allowed us to move forward with the selection of this year’s homecoming theme.

In hindsight, the selection of the 2020 EIU Homecoming Theme has proven racially insensitive to many within the EIU community. It was not the intent in the selection of the 2020 EIU Homecoming Theme to act in a harmful or insensitive way to the EIU community.

Despite the best intentions of the 2020 EIU Homecoming Committees to recognize EIU’s 125th Anniversary in celebrating the founding of EIU during EIU Homecoming Week, it is clear that the historical and present oppressive plight of African-Americans and other minority and underrepresented groups were not fully taken into context in the selection of the 2020 EIU Homecoming Theme.

To our EIU students, faculty, staff and alumni, we sincerely regret any racial insensitivity and harm conveyed in the selection of the 2020 EIU Homecoming Theme.

While it is not enough to recognize the negative impact and harm that the 2020 EIU Homecoming Theme may have caused, moving forward we are committed to changing for the better, while recognizing our responsibility to the EIU community for combating racial insensitivity in any future EIU Homecoming Week planning. 

It is in moments like this, that our resolve shall be to work towards becoming a more inclusive EIU community that values contributions, promotes mutual understanding and respect for all.

 

The Eastern Student Life Office can be reached at [email protected]