Bus company Suburban Express has apologized after sending out a racist ad to college students at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign over the weekend that implied that they wouldn't have to deal with ethnic minorities if they rode on their buses.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the ad, which was sent out to students via email, highlighted several different reasons for choosing Suburban Express buses for trips home for the holidays. In addition to highlighting the buses' cleanliness and the quality of drivers, the ad also took what appeared to be a swipe at Chinese students.
"You won’t feel like you’re in China when you’re on our buses," the ad promised in a section that touted being able to ride home with "passengers like you."
A firestorm quickly erupted over the ads, and the company issued a quick apology.
"We made a remark based on the fact that our competitor mostly handles Chinese international students," the company said in an apology sent over email. "The remark is being interpreted as a slap in the face of all non-caucasians for some reason, and that it not how it was intended."
Despite this apology, the company went on to slam the University of Illinois for admitting so many Chinese students, which account for roughly 12 percent of its current student body.
The University of Illinois hit back hard at the bus company for promoting racism.
"These types of racist and bigoted statements attacking any members of our community deserve nothing but condemnation from all of us," the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs said. "We cannot prevent a private company from operating in our community. But we can, loudly and unambiguously, say that the opinions expressed by Suburban Express are offensive, bigoted, insulting and in direct opposition to the values of this university."