The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) scores well on a number of our metrics and places above many of its peers despite continued defunding of public education in Illinois that is harming students. UIC, for example, is the only institution we have surveyed that does not have a fully operational, student-run newspaper -- an essential component of any university ecosystem to hold administrations accountable to students and to keep students informed of community happenings. In 2019, students at UIC started a news platform, The Bonfire, with some funding from the student government. But news reporting in 2023 is still sparse.
According to the Urban Institute, Illinois has among the lowest per capita expenditures on higher education in the country, but UIC still surpasses many of its more well-endowed peers in providing a welcoming campus for disabled students and is one of the leading centers in the world for Disability Studies. Among the notable Disability Studies scholars at UIC are James Charlton, Lennard J. Davis, and Liat Ben-Moshe. UIC's Disability Cultural Center was established in 2018.
Even Northwestern's student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, had to acknowledge how much NU's campus is failing disabled students compared to UIC, not only in terms of the invisibility of disabled students on NU's campus, but also in comparison to the inclusivity and accessibility of UIC's community spaces. A student at NU tells a reporter at The Daily Northwestern that "he had a role model in high school who was happy [he] got into his 'dream school' but had always encouraged him to go to UIC... 'I wish I had listened to him a little bit more.'"
In 2019, the UIC Police Department began using Clearview AI facial recognition technology on campus, despite pushback from students. In 2022, as part of a settlement with the ACLU, Clearview AI was banned from providing Illinois public entities access to its database for five years.
Lawmakers alleged Monday that racist comments and unequal treatment of students has been ongoing for years at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, including racist imagery and statements by one instructor in particular.
The imagery included a photo of someone with a noose around the neck and a hood over the head, and the statements included use of the N-word and asking about a student of color’s “natural hair,” the lawmakers alleged in a letter that demanded school officials address the situation.