An Illinois bus company is apologizing for an advertisement to University of Illinois students that many are characterizing as racist.
In a Christmas ad, Suburban Express of Champaign mentioned one of the benefits of using their transportation as having "passengers like you. You won't feel like you're in China when you're on our buses."
In a statement, U of I said the message "once again demonstrated the company’s disregard and disdain towards the values of inclusivity that define our university."
"The message specifically insulted members of our Chinese, Asian and Asian American communities who are a vital and valued part of every aspect of both the University of Illinois and our local cities. These types of racist and bigoted statements attacking any members of our community deserve nothing but condemnation from all of us," said the statement.
The university noted Suburban Express has no business relationship with U of I, and its vehicles are not permitted to pick up or drop off passengers on university property.
The Daily Illini student newspaper noted Suburban Express said it “made a remark based on the fact that our competitor mostly handles Chinese international students" in an apology e-mail. The paper notes while the apology does not specify which competitor is referenced, Peoria Charter makes stops at Chicago O'Hare.
The company later issued a second apology.
“Suburban Express welcomes students of all nationalities on our buses. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to further their own agenda. We apologize for our insensitive statement, and we hope to do a better job of unifying the campus community in the future, from our office in the heart of campustown," the company was quoted as stating in the Daily Illini.