University condemns 'racist' bus ad - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

University condemns 'racist' bus ad

Source: CNN Source: CNN

(CNN) - A bus company that caters to University of Illinois students is in hot water over an ad critics are calling racist, and the company's initial apology only appeared to add fuel to the fire.

"Welcome to December" the ad reads, encouraging students to get their tickets early so they can "enjoy the suburban express experience."

Benefits of which include refundable tickets, comfortable coaches, and "passengers like you. You won't feel like you're in China when you're on our buses."

It didn't take long for the ad to draw backlash online, so Suburban Express emailed an apology, which said they didn't mean to offend anyone - but went on to say they believe the U of I should focus on educating citizens of Illinois and claiming that financial mismanagement on the university's part is the reason for admitting more international students.

The apology letter also says "a high percentage of non-native English speakers places a variety of burdens on domestic students."

"Seeing something so racist, something so explicitly racist as an advertisement for a pretty prominent on-campus company. It was appalling," said Anusha Thotakura.

The U of I chapter of the Asian Pacific American Coalition feels the same way.

"It was unbelievable. Then the follow-up email came in which had the word apology on it, and then in no place contained an apology," said Katrina Monreal.

Administrative leaders at the U of I made a statement:

"These types of racist and bigoted statements attacking any members of our community deserve nothing but condemnation from all of us. The university has no business relationship with this company. Their vehicles are not permitted to pick up or drop off passengers on university property."

The U of I also says they can't stop the business from operating on public roads, including those that run through campus, but the university has banned them from advertising on campus.

They say they frequently have to remove Suburban Express ads from classrooms.

Suburban Express released another statement, calling the original ad "ill-advised," saying it welcomes students of all nationalities on its buses.

Suburban Express says it hopes to do a better job of unifying the campus community in the future.

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