Showing posts with label Chief. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chief. Show all posts

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.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Another Nail in the Coffin

A Federal Judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by the designer of the Chief logo due to lack of jurisdiction.

I wonder how long and how many more failed desperate attempts to revive him it will take before people will realize that their racist mascot of choice will not be coming back.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

They Write About It as if It's News

So both the News-Gazette and the Daily Illini reported on the Chief student referendum as if it mattered, which it doesn't. At least the News-Gazette took a break from its breathless reporting to mention the 2004 referendum, which was just as non-binding as this most recent one. Both referenda were merely means to get a Students for Institutionalized Racism-associated person elected to a Student Trustee seat with a non-binding(!) vote.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

For the Record

As I am 1/2 Irish and use alcohol responsibly, I take offense to many of the slogans, like "Drink yourself green", used to promote Unofficial St. Patrick's Day, as well as the "holiday" itself. I'm on record elsewhere saying that it's all kinds of stupid, mostly because St. Patrick's Day rarely if ever falls during Spring Break.

Oh, and I take offense to the Fighting Irish too, if any Chief supporters feel like throwing that strawman argument out.

Anyhow, I'm lucky that where I work is a rather unlikely place to see intrusion by drunken students. Others may not be so fortunate.

Monday, February 11, 2008

And That Will Prove....What?

So Students for Campus Racial Stereotypes will apparently be putting a referendum question on whether the Chief should be brought back in this year's student election. As student government elections are dominated by the same Greek crowd who drunkenly chants the name of a mascot we no longer have during football games, the outcome of the referendum is almost certain.

What I don't understand is what the point of the referendum is. It's not like the student body has any say in the matter - retiring the Chief has always been an issue for the Board of Trustees to decide. When I was an undergrad, the last referendum on the Chief helped to pull in a pro-Chief Student Trustee on its coattails. Thing is, just like last time, having an extra pro-Chief trustee won't do any good, since UIUC will not have the binding vote in the upcoming term.

Also, what's up with the DI's headline, "Chief Illiniwek issue steps closer to vote by students"? Did the DI run a series of stories chronicling the "steps"? This is the first I've heard of it, and it sure looks like a final step to me.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Little Egypt is Farther South, People

...So if you insist on living in denial, you need to transfer to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and start rooting for the Salukis. Meanwhile, the rest of us can go on our merry way without some sods trying out to be the next Chief Illiniwek.

Yes, you read that right: Students for Chief Illiniwek and the so-called Council of Chiefs have announced tryouts for the next person (read: white male) to continue the worst thing to happen to race relations at the University of Illinois since its Ku Klux Klan chapter was founded. At least the KKK disbanded on campus - apparently we are not yet so lucky as to be free of our former racist mascot.

Honestly, though, I shouldn't be too surprised after listening to the drunken hordes at football games continuing to yell, "Chief!" during the three-in-one at halftime. The denial that the Chief is gone runs deeply, and nowhere does it run as deep as Students for Chief Illiniwek:

[President of Students for Chief Illiniwek] Schmitt said his plan is setting the stage for a Chief revitalization that might be years down the road.

"We don't want to do this in an official capacity right now," Schmitt said.

In the meantime, Schmitt said Students for Chief Illiniwek is content to humbly channel the enthusiastic spirit of student, alumni and fan support.

"Whoever the new Chief is might not dance on the floor of Assembly Hall," Schmitt added. "But students still realize that this is a huge honor not only to the community but to Fighting Illini legacy."
Beyond the overall denial, there's still a couple things that are plain wrong about this. First is that the University cannot bring back the Chief. This was the primary reason why the Board of Trustees hemmed and hawed for so long over their bullshit "consensus conclusion" - they knew that if and when they retired the Chief that the political costs to the University would be so high as to make that decision irreversible. Maintaining a racist mascot was a black eye to the University, but reinstating it would cause the University's national and global reputation to reek for years to come. Hardly anyone on that board wanted to be stuck with the local political misfortune of being the ones to retire the Chief on their own which, while I understand it, does not make it any less cowardly. The NCAA ruling lowered the political costs to the Board of Trustees as they could claim they were saving the Athletic programs from sanctions by the mean, mean people outside the university. (Although, they were really just saving the money sports - the others had already been screwed for a year as they were unable to host playoffs.) That the board felt the need to retire the Chief without much public warning speaks more about the character of those who support the Chief, from whom the board was trying to hide, than the Board itself.

Nevertheless, what I want to know is what the new guy is going to do. Is he just going to go to games in street clothes with his thumb up his butt? Or are the Chief supporters going to try to get the new guy to show up in costume (whatever remains of it now) to non-sporting events? (As if that wouldn't make the environment of this university even more hostile and abusive...) Unless Students for Chief Illiniwek start pulling stunts worthy of the Orange and Blue Observer, I honestly cannot fathom what the new Chief will do besides stand perpetually in the on-deck circle as the ballpark is being torn down around him.

Also, running as a companion story in the Daily Illini is their own coverage of the lawsuit over the Logo for the Chief. None of the details have changed since the News-Gazette ran its story nearly two weeks ago - and that the DI sat on this for so long makes me think that someone there knew about the new Chief selection long ahead of time. What really bothers me about this article, though, is the lack of new reporting by the Daily Illini. The first big issue is that the reporter did not get the University spokesperson on the record saying how the new merchandise will not violate the NCAA ruling. A journalist should never accept it when a public official handwaves away any important issue, and since habits learned early are hard to break, the instinct to ask the uncomfortable questions should be ingrained now. The second issue I have with this is that the Daily Illini has had weeks to prepare this story, and yet they do not have a single word from the NCAA on the matter. As I pointed out previously, one of the big things in the News-Gazette article was the lack of a response from the NCAA. The NCAA has the power to say that the University is no longer in compliance with its ruling on Native American mascots, and so a statement from them matters - yet there's not a single blurb about it in the DI writeup. What has this reporter been doing for the past couple weeks that he did not call the NCAA? Even the NCAA refusing to comment is important, as noting such only highlights the blatant hypocrisy of the situation. The bottom line is, until someone comes forward and explains how the University selling/licensing Chief merchandise does not violate the NCAA ruling, the whole thing is going to stink to people on both sides of the issue.

Oh, and the way, I did notice that the Chief people tried to bury this story on the Friday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a school holiday and three-day weekend for students. Way to be honest and forthright and all that.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Chief Logo Shenannigans

I didn't catch Saturday's News-Gazette, but Illinipundit did, and he caught the story on the Chief logo's creator suing the university to get the rights back from the Board of Trustees. He doesn't have a legal leg to stand on, but what's interesting about the article is actually what it says on the UofI's plans for the logo:

[U]niversity officials and lawyers have been working with Collegiate Licensing Company to add the Chief logo to the company's College Vault program. College Vault licenses vintage collegiate logos, emblems and other images.

"We have not made final decisions on specific products or volume going forward, but we will continue to offer merchandise in select apparel, non-apparel and headwear categories," Kaler said.

-snip-

Kaufman also said such marketing would violate the UI Board of Trustees March 13, 2007, resolution calling for the elimination of the Chief and it would violate the NCAA policy prohibiting schools with "hostile or abusive" imagery from hosting postseason competitions or displaying the nicknames, logos or mascots at those events.

-snip-

If the university signs an agreement with College Vault to license the Chief Illiniwek merchandise, the Chief items would be sold online only. Such use is in accordance with NCAA and university policies, Kaler said.

Calls left for NCAA officials were not immediately returned Friday.

Last February, after UI Board Chairman Lawrence Eppley announced the end of Chief Illiniwek, the NCAA issued a release stating that if the university no longer used Chief Illiniwek and related American Indian imagery in athletics, the university would be in full compliance with the NCAA's policy.
What everyone is waiting on is for the NCAA to respond and say whether or not UofI's continued sale of Chief merchandise online really is in accordance with NCAA policy. If it is, I'd be disappointed in the NCAA. How is allowing online sales substantially different from allowing sales in meatspace? We all know that the die-hard Chief fans will flock to the online site to buy the most-likely overpriced "vintage" apparel just to get their fix of racist clothing, and since the University - and the NCAA! - would be sponsoring it, the University would still be fostering a Hostile and Abusive atmosphere. My own view is that, given enough time without a white guy jumping around in a costume down on the field, the student body itself will get over the loss of its mascot - but allowing a source of Chief memorabilia to remain will, just like the Marching Illini's continued use of the Three-in-One, contribute to and extend the rather pathetic hanging-on to the Chief that his supporters currently exhibit.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Rose Bowl

Ouch.

Thoughts on the game: Yeah, we lost - but then again, I expected us to win 5, maybe 6 games this year, and we went to the frikkin' Rose Bowl. So that's not too shabby. Assuming Zook can keep everyone around, we should do at least as well, if not better, next year.

Thoughts on Halftime: First, why are we still doing the 3-in-1? I mean, it's pathetic enough when everyone yells "Chief" for a mascot that is no longer there, did the Marching Illini have to showcase that to the rest of the nation? Also, why was ABC feeding sound from the on-field cameras during Stairway to Heaven? Having one or two instruments' parts drown out the rest of the band due to poor microphone placement took one of the awesomest pieces of marching band music ever and made it sound really weird. They didn't do the same thing to USC's band, what made ABC think it was a good idea for ours?