Campus Faculty Association Statement on the Arrest, Release and University investigation into the conduct of Prof. Jay Rosenstein

The struggle over the university’s refusal to enforce its own regulations on the retirement of racist mascots continues. On the evening of Monday, January 22, a person dressed and behaving in racist and mocking ways was allowed, once again, to attend and perform in the stands at the U of I/Michigan State men’s basketball game at the State Farm Center. That night, Prof. Jay Rosenstein was arrested due to his efforts to video document possible collusion between university employees and the people who continue to inflict unauthorized representations of a racist mascot at University of Illinois events.  

On the night of Prof. Rosenstein’s arrest, The News-Gazette gave prominent attention to a pro-mascot U of I alumnus who accused Prof. Rosenstein of filming him while urinating. Upon his release, Prof. Rosenstein publicly stated that that he did no such thing. He entered a public restroom but did not film anyone in any state of undress.

University authorities have suspended Prof. Rosenstein, placing him on “paid administrative leave” pending “an investigation.” In cases of alleged faculty misconduct, the University Statutes provide for “severe sanctions short of dismissal” and “sanctions including dismissal.” In both cases, Senate committees and a hearing must be involved. However, Prof. Rosenstein has been not been informed of the provisions under which he has been suspended, nor of the procedures which are being followed.

The University should pay attention to the fact that although Prof. Rosenstein was arrested and spent a night in the county jail, he was released immediately the next morning when Julia Reitz, the State’s Attorney, determined that no charges would be brought against him.

The Campus Faculty Association states its continued support of efforts to eradicate the evil of the unwanted, corrosive and provocative presence of the racist mascot from our campus. The CFA supports Prof. Rosenstein’s legitimate and, sadly, still much-needed efforts in this regard.

We ask: why does the University of Illinois continue to take no action against the vocal and obnoxious supporters of racism?

We therefore demand that the University:

  1. State under what provisions of the University Statutes Prof. Rosenstein has been suspended.
  2. End the “investigation” and issue a public statement which clears Prof. Rosenstein of wrongdoing on January 22, 2018, as the State’s Attorney has already done.
  3. Investigate how supporters and enactors of the racist mascot are still allowed to perform on campus.
  4. Enforce University agreements and regulations banning representations of racist mascots from campus events and property, implement the recent student government resolution for removal of such representations from university buildings, and educate students at large on the offensive nature of such images.