Contest results' release follows moot court ruling
CHAMPAIGN — The results of an online contest seeking input on designs for a new University of Illinois symbol were released this week following the decision of a moot student court.
The UI student group Campus Spirit Revival held an art contest over the winter asking students to submit ideas and logos for a new mascot and for people to cast votes for their favorites. Because the Illinois Student Senate, a quasi-legislative body of elected students, agreed back in 2011 to co-sponsor the contest, another student group, called Stop Campus Spirit Revival, questioned the "constitutionality" of the student senate's actions.
The most votes cast were not for a new symbol, but for the category called "no change." The category "no change" received 1,767 votes, followed by 1,369 votes cast for "other options," and 1,071 for an eagle. Among other entries: 191 votes were for a fictional sea monster called the kraken, 138 votes were cast for "corn guy," and a werewolf received 100 votes.
At the hearing before moot court "judges" earlier this spring, Josh Good, a UI College of Veterinary Medicine student who brought the case before the student judiciary, argued that the student senate's sponsorship was not "constitutional" because it should abide by 2005 and 2008 student referenda that showed strong support for the Chief.
Representatives for the student senate argued that the contest was not an official call for a new mascot, but a simple poll. Moreover, they argued, the student referenda that showed support for Chief Illiniwek were nonbinding.
The moot court agreed with the student senate, that the 2011 resolution in which the senate co-sponsors the contest, does not violate the Illinois Student Senate Constitution.
"This case is not concerned with whether or not the 2005 and 2008 [Chief Illiniwek student] referenda are being sufficiently carried out by the ISS, and this court does not provide any opinion regarding the senate's power to 'support' or 'reinstate' Chief Illiniwek," the moot court ruled. "The issue presented before this court today is limited to considering whether or not the student body's passage of the binding referenda in 2005 and 2008 necessarily make the senate's subsequent passage of the 2011 resolution unconstitutional. This court holds that the passage of the 2011 resolution does not violate the ISS constitution because the resolution does not directly conflict with the 2005 or 2008 referenda," according to the opinion issued.
"Though I'm disappointed with the moot court ruling, I feel good about the results of the survey," because it shows students still favor Chief Illiniwek as the symbol of the university, Good said.
The UI Board of Trustees voted to retire Chief Illiniwek in 2007 after decades of debate on the subject. University officials have said there are no plans to come up with a new symbol or mascot.