Monday, November 10, 2008

Read It and Weep

Chancellor Herman writes to the DI to say that, try as hard as they can, Students for Chief Illiniwek's antics won't bring back the Chief:

I want to clarify and add background to a recent announcement by the Registered Student Organization (RSO) "Students for Chief Illiniwek." The RSO plans to rent the Assembly Hall on November 15 to promote its cause at an event called, "Students for Chief Illiniwek Presents: The Next Dance."

The campus does not support and is not sponsoring this rally and, as long as the group does not exclude any fellow students from participating, the organization is free to express within the law the beliefs and perspectives of its members.

On February 21, 2007, the University at Urbana-Champaign retired the Chief Illiniwek tradition. The campus also ended the production of Chief merchandise, except through the Collegiate Licensing Company's "Vault" program, which is used for retired logos.

We will not reinstate the Chief Illiniwek tradition.

However, we will never prevent people from expressing themselves on our campus. The RSO system at the University allows groups of students to create organizations that represent many different viewpoints. While the University will not always condone those views, we will allow students to form a RSO, as long as they meet clear and existing guidelines. Those guidelines include adhering to all federal and state nondiscrimination and equal opportunity laws, orders, and regulations.

All RSOs have certain rights, including the right to reserve/rent certain campus spaces for their events. The Assembly Hall is one of the venues available for such events.

The University works very hard to create an inclusive campus community. Free speech and the ability to express ideas is a core value of this great institution. Without this freedom, students do not have exposure to ideas nor the ability to test the veracity of those ideas.

This is a tradition we will always honor.

Richard Herman,
Chancellor
As I've said many times before, retiring the Chief was an irreversible decision by the Board of Trustees. The nature of our former "symbol"/mascot is so toxic that, were the board to reinstate it, the university's reputation as an enlightened institution of higher learning would be shot. That's why it's best not to have these big displays, and best not to cling on to things like yelling "Chief" during the Three-in-One at Halftime (two-thirds of which I'd also like to go see the way of our well-maligned mascot). The more people keep deluding themselves that it will come back, the longer it will take for the community as a whole to move on.

3 comments:

moon_grrl said...

I have never understood the cachet of a white guy hopping around a sports field in completely inaccurate Native American dress for our area topped off with poorly applied red face paint.

It's weird at best and the poster child for institutional racism at worst.

Jonathan said...

I'd prefer someone dressed as Jesus with a cross strapped to his back. Halftime Jesus can dance down the field while being chased by Roman Legionaries. It'd be a great way to "honor" Jesus.

Yay Halftime Jesus.

rknil said...

http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/3102

Back Chief Billyjackwek!