UI event to support Native American student disturbed by Chief images

UI event to support Native American student disturbed by Chief images

URBANA — A University of Illinois student group has organized a walk on the Quad tonight to show support for a Native American student who recently wrote about the anguish brought on by still seeing images of the retired, but not gone, Chief Illiniwek.

"Walk with Xochitl" is scheduled for 6 to 7 tonight on the UI Quad.

The student wrote the open letter to Chancellor Phyllis Wise, the Board of Trustees and other campus administrators, posted it on social media sites but declined to be interviewed by The News-Gazette. Members of the Native American Indigenous Student Organization, which organized tonight's event, also declined comment. The event is being advertised as a walk "in solidarity for a better campus climate."

In the letter posted last week, the senior student writes about "the legacy of disrespect and racism" she has experienced at the UI and the "emotional, physical and spiritual pain that seeing the former-yet-still-lingering Chief mascot has on me."

"As an indigenous student, this image and every likeness to it represented a complete disregard for American Indian culture and spiritual practices, and that every time I saw it, it was not only an emotional stab, but also an impediment to my academic success," she wrote.

She called on the chancellor to prohibit students from wearing Chief Illiniwek apparel and other accessories.

The student says she will leave the UI feeling disappointed with the chancellor; trustees; Office of the Dean of Students; Office of Diversity, Equity, and Access; and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The student also describes how she contemplated committing suicide on the Quad, writing: "This whole Chief situation was so unbearable, and the apathy on behalf of administration so painful, that it was obvious that nothing was going to change."

UI Deputy Chief of Police Skip Frost said university officials and police learned about the letter last week.

"We are fully aware of it and have taken steps to make contact with (the student) and have different units of campus provide services to her," Frost said.

Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler said whenever the university learns of "students who face challenges that require intervention, we connect the student with assistance and we remain connected until we are confident the student's well-being is restored," she said.

"Race and ethnicity are complicated issues in our country, state and university. While no one measure can address the issue, we will continue to hold dialogues about race and cultural sensitivity," Kaler added.

As they do for campus rallies and other events, university police planned to meet in advance with the walk's organizers.

"We will be involved to make sure everybody has a chance to express their viewpoints," Frost said.

The campus officially ended use of Chief Illiniwek as its official symbol or mascot in 2007, but some students still wear Chief apparel and an "unofficial" Chief often appears in costume at games and walks through the crowds, raising his hands.

Last year a new student group, Campus Spirit Revival, launched a competition to solicit ideas for a new mascot. But that prompted the formation of a new group, Stop Campus Spirit Revival, which was created to halt the original group's action.

Also last year, a group of former Illiniwek portrayers asked trustees to bring back a non-dancing version of the Chief to halftime shows. Wise said the Chief is part of the school's past, not its future.

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Heather J. wrote on April 08, 2014 at 7:04 am

I'm NOT trying to belittle her feelings, she's allowed to feel however she wants....however, if the sight of the Chief on a tshirt is enough to make her want to publically commit suicide, I'm not sure she should be at school. She should probably be under the care of a licensed psychologist. No, I'm not being sarcastic. 

If the sight of the Chief is making her so distraught, I'm curious why she chose to come to the UofI. Maybe she didn't know how upset the Cheif would make her, I don't know. 

I hope this young lady gets some serious help to avoid taking her own, young life. 

Joe American wrote on April 08, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Agreed.  There are deeper mental issues that need to be dealt with that prancing around the quad won't cure.

jmar13 wrote on April 08, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Well said Joe...

alabaster jones 71 wrote on April 08, 2014 at 7:04 am
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I, too, sincerely hope this student is able to resolve her psychological issues.  However, this seems just a slight bit overwrought to me, for the reasons mentioned in Heather J's comment above.

Who would enforce the ban on Chief apparel?  The campus police force?  Don't they have better things to do?

football jingoists wrote on April 08, 2014 at 8:04 am

It would be difficult to impossible to understand her feelings without having to bear the memory that your people were murdered and their land stolen. To make matters worse, those whose ancestors murdered your people and stole their land are now wearing your likeness on their clothing to "honor" you and your people. Then, imagine trying to explain this pain and being told over and over again that you are "over reacting" and "need psychological help" and here are some corporate buzzwords to make you feel better.

Heather J. wrote on April 08, 2014 at 8:04 am

Hey Football....I said I wasn't trying to belittle her feelings. You're right, I can't understand what she is going through. My point was that she shouldn't end her life over this. Ending her life won't solve or change anything. She can be as upset and discuested by the Chief as she wants, but she needs to learn how to cope with these images, since they are there, right or wrong. You can't simply erase something that was part of this University for many decades (again, whether it was right or wrong).   The point I was making is that she shouldn't resort to ending her life.  It's not some corporate buzzword, it's legitmate concern. ANYONE who is contemplating suicide for ANY reason should receive help. 

illini82 wrote on April 08, 2014 at 9:04 am

Peoples, races and nations all over the world have suffered at the hands of others all through history. The worst  being the Holocaust against the Jews. But how about the Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman (Turkish) govt., the millions of Irish who suffered under British rule. The Poles who suffered under alternately under Russian and German rule. And yes even American Indian tribes suffering at the hands of other tribes as well as central and south American nations or tribes suffering at the hands of other tribes. The list is endless through history.

The point is virtually all peoples including Europeans and Christians have suffered at the hands of others through history yet you don't see those descendants asking for special treatment based on their heritage.

And this is what this is. A person demanding special treament and actions based on what she says she is and what she FEELS. Not based on anything that she personally experienced. And don't even try to equate LOOKING at someone wearing a Chief shirt or picture as being the same as being thrown into a concentration camp, or jailed for a political belief, or being held as a slave or being denied rights guaranteed by the constitution.

It's not even close.

 

gamera wrote on April 08, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Can you show me where those victims of genocide have had to see people walking around in athletic apparel with the charactures of their dead ancestors used like clown puppets? Cuz otherwise, not the same. If a school used a holocaust victim for a mascot, it would be outrageous. But once again, people think using a race as a mascot equal to animals is ok. It's not. 

illini82 wrote on April 08, 2014 at 8:04 am

OMG!

Impediment to my academic success?  Drove me to thoughts of SUICIDE ON THEQUAD!?

Sounds more like a cry for attention than a cry for help. So either this student has severe psycological issues or she is trying to see if one student can undo the First Amendment at the University of Illinois campus and if she could even the state.

However if you FORBID the wearing of Chief apparel or Chief images in any form on campus this person will be magically "cured" of what ails her?

Are we to have "Chief Police" who go around campus arresting people for wearing Chief apparel? Will I be tazed if I don't take my Chief jacket off?

Yet this person and the group that supports her decline to be interviewed.

I don't know what is more pathetic. This person's public attempt for self attention or the University's continued complicent willingness to be extorted by the anti-Chief minority as well as the PC crowd in general.

Don't be surprised to see new "codes of campus conduct" forbidding at least students, faculty and employees from wearing or displaying Chief related items on their person or in their dorm rooms, offices and in or on all campus properties. Heck they may try to enforce it in the tailgate lots...if they want a riot that is. It won't pass constitutional muster in the end but they can then say that they tried to squelsh free speech.

Liberals and many college campuses would LOVE to be able to codify "political offensive expression" as an arrestable offense equal to criminal assualt as long  as THEY are the ones defining what it means to be offended, what type of speech and expressions are "offensive"  as well as WHO or what demographic groups can only be offended.

Sadly this University will probably try.

 

 

savethatchief wrote on April 08, 2014 at 8:04 am

OMG...some people really need to get a life.  This is why Americans can no longer compete on a global scale, we are weak, bleeding heart liberals who cannot stand to hurt anyones feelings.  This person needs mental help, or (more likely) A FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT for "pain and suffering."  That's what the person is after, so just pay them off like we did the NCAA when we got rid of our beloved CHIEF.  Florida State still honors, respects, and parades Chief Osceola for all to see on national televesion.  The Braves, Indians, Blackhawks, and Redskins all proudly display their Logos.  Let's stop coddling people, and start dealing with real issues instead of meaningless lawsuits over anguish by someone over things that happened hundreds of years ago.  My ancestors likely included someone who took a beating at some point...but I don't cry about something that didn't happen to me or my great, great, great, great grandpa!

lga wrote on April 08, 2014 at 9:04 am

YOU SHOULD REMEMBER TO CLICK YOUR "CAPS LOCK" BUTTON, IN ADDITION TO WRITING ALL YOUR WORDS IN BOLD FONT. WRITING YOUR MESSAGE IN BOLD AND CAPS HELPS THE READER TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE REALLY MAD ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE'S FEELINGS. ALSO REMEMBER: YELLING MAKES YOUR MESSAGE MORE TRUE. YELL AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE AND REPEAT YOUR MESSAGE OVER AND OVER. IT MAKES PEOPLE BELIEVE WHAT YOU SAY IS TRUE, EVEN IF IT IS NOT TRUE, ACCURATE, OR THOUGHTFUL.*

*taken from the Rush Limbaugh handbook: How to Make People Believe Nonsensical and Ignorant Statements

alabaster jones 71 wrote on April 09, 2014 at 12:04 am
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Actually, the Indians have mostly retired their extremely inappropriate logo (Chief Wahoo) as of the beginning of this season.  It is no longer their primary logo, at least.

By the way, the Chief is never coming back, so you may want to find some issues to get worked up about that are actually remotely important.

football jingoists wrote on April 08, 2014 at 9:04 am

She is coping with her feelings, just not in a way that makes you feel comfortable. By corporate buzzwords, I was refering to all of the "inclusive, diverse, global" statements made by the university that she mentioned as feeling like little more than words on paper.

It's impressive, here we have a story about someone seeking compassion and understanding, and people start blathering on about "liberals" and "honoring the natives" and somehow equating a fist fight their grandfather was in with genocide. You're all doing a wonderful job at highlighting her point.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on April 09, 2014 at 12:04 am
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Does contemplating committing suicide on the quad sound like she is coping with her feelings effectively to you?

football jingoists wrote on April 09, 2014 at 11:04 am

I am not surrounded by people who parade my mudered ancestors and culture around as a sports mascot while telling me that I'm a "loud mouth liberal lefty" who needs to "get over it" and "grow up" for being upset. It's hard for me to say what an "appropriate" coping method is. Seems like this has been building up for some time, I doubt she went straight to thoughts of suicide.

yates wrote on April 08, 2014 at 10:04 am

Where have we heard this before? Sounds like the democrat/liberal cause is wanting to fundamentally change the U. of I. Ever wonder why Illinois is the butt of so many jokes? Look no farther.

anotherparent wrote on April 08, 2014 at 12:04 pm

This makes me want to buy a Chief shirt even though I have never owned one before....

sweet caroline wrote on April 08, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Pick up a Chief shirt for me while you're at it, anotherparent.  I'm sick of having political correctness shoved down my conservative throat by this Berkeley-style liberal university.  The Chief never hurt anyone.  All it takes is a few loud-mouthed lefties to whine about something as asinine as a Chief symbol causing emotional distress, and suddenly poof!  It's gone! 

Dixie70 wrote on April 08, 2014 at 1:04 pm

First off everyone is intitled to their own opinion and feelings regarding the Cheif, however stating the Cheif has made her think of suicide in the quad is a little over the top.  The Cheif has never been disrespectable or racist, The Cheif has always been respected and regarded in the highest honor.  My parents were at the game many years ago when the head dress was presented to the university, it was presented out of honor and pride not disrespect.  When the Cheif would dance you could hear a pin drop in both Memorial Stadium and the Assembly Hall, that shows honor and respect.  I have never ever seen anyone be racist in any way in regards to the Cheif.  The Cheif was an over 80 year tradition, it was something that the majority of people who are Illinois fans and or supporters looked forward to at games and  respected.  You never heard anyone state vocally that the Cheif was disrespectful or racist until the Professor who will remain nameless and we all know who it was, fired everyone up.  Their may very well have been those who felt disrespected by the Cheif, but we never knew until then. 


I have a small percentage of Native American in my heritage and I know many people who do and have more than myself and they are not offended in any way, nor am I.  I have had enough of the pity parties of how the Cheif is offensive, when most don't even know the story, they just hop on a band wagon and go with it.  As I stated before everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, if this student is as deeply effected and felt suicide was an answer, she has way more deeper issues than the Cheif and should seek treatment for those issues. 


The Cheif will always be a part fo the University of Illinois no matter what, people will never let that die and I'm sure if their was a decendent from the Illini tribe still living they would see the respect and honor we who support the Cheif have for him as a symbol of the university. 


The Cheif, Yesterday, Today, Forever.

Sid Saltfork wrote on April 08, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I respect your opinion; but was "Cheif" intentional?

My ancestors arrived in North America during the early 1700's, and promptly moved west.  They were dispossessed from their homeland. They made something out of the wilderness.  They created a country with immense industry leading to national wealth, and democracy.  The past is over.  I owe no apologies for the past; and I feel no guilt for it.  People need to concentrate on the present, and plan for the future.  

The student picked the wrong school for her episode.

Dixie70 wrote on April 09, 2014 at 8:04 am

Let me fix my grammatical errors since people feel it necessary to mention them.


First off everyone is intitled to their own opinion and feelings regarding the Chief, however stating the Chief has made her think of suicide in the quad is a little over the top.  The Chief has never been disrespectable or racist, The Chief has always been respected and regarded in the highest honor.  My parents were at the game many years ago when the head dress was presented to the university, it was presented out of honor and pride not disrespect.  When the Chief would dance you could hear a pin drop in both Memorial Stadium and the Assembly Hall, that shows honor and respect.  I have never ever seen anyone be racist in any way in regards to the Chief.  The Chief was an over 80 year tradition, it was something that the majority of people who are Illinois fans and or supporters looked forward to at games and  respected.  You never heard anyone state vocally that the Chief was disrespectful or racist until the Professor who will remain nameless and we all know who it was, fired everyone up.  Their may very well have been those who felt disrespected by the Chief, but we never knew until then. 



I have a small percentage of Native American in my heritage and I know many people who do and have more than myself and they are not offended in any way, nor am I.  I have had enough of the pity parties of how the Chief is offensive, when most don't even know the story, they just hop on a band wagon and go with it.  As I stated before everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, if this student is as deeply effected and felt suicide was an answer, she has way more deeper issues than the Chief and should seek treatment for those issues. 



The Chief will always be a part fo the University of Illinois no matter what, people will never let that die and I'm sure if their was a decendent from the Illini tribe still living they would see the respect and honor we who support the Chief have for him as a symbol of the university. 



The Chief, Yesterday, Today, Forever.


 

jmar13 wrote on April 08, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Maybe choosing the University of Illinois was not the brightest move for this girl (given that right or wrong, this University has been tied to the Chief Illiniwek symbol and tradition for longer than most of us can remember). I believe this girl is upset and troubled, but not for the reasons presented in this article. Anyone claiming to be traumitized by the chief symbol to the point of suicidal thoughts needs professional help immediately.....not another bleeding heart/jump on the bandwagon gathering of lemmings to further her mis-directed angst. To the person/persons organizing this walk....... Really.....you're buying this!?

There is a march April 24th that I will be attending called Take Back the Night.  It is without question a worthy cause unlike the aforementioned  "flavor of the moment" gathering in the article. 

 

justFYI wrote on April 08, 2014 at 4:04 pm
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Wasn't April Fools supposed to be a week ago?

I mean let's be honest, the Native Americans have been involved in bloody and terrible wars, descrimination and a general lack of understanding. I could see that being traumatizing! But, they have perservered, sucked it up and been a respectable and admirable group of people considering all they have gone through. But seriously. "Anguish" from seeing people wearing tee-shirts with the chief's logo on it? Contemplating PUBLIC SUICIDE ON THE QUAD?

I know the solution. Let's ban the chief's logo on the U of I campus! Let's prevent students from wearing certain items of clothing which one person finds traumatic! Let's limit the 1st amendment! I have an issue with people wearing spandex and leggings to class and on campus! Either it's distracting because it's attractive, or it's distracting because it's... let's go with distasteful. Let's prevent them from wearing what they want! By god, it's impeding my academic success!

There are some serious issues going on here. She needs some professional help. Hopefully she gets it soon.

The Chief is in the U of I's past. I understand and accept that. But get out of here with this nonsense.

ronaldo wrote on April 08, 2014 at 5:04 pm

The article is curioiusly absent of the name of this student.  I'm doubting that "she" even exists, and if "she" does, how closely she's actually related to the Illini tribe.

Any other tribal affiliation is no closer than the Irish are to the Bulgarians.

C-U Townie wrote on April 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm
Dixie70 wrote on April 08, 2014 at 6:04 pm

No the "Cheif " wasn't intentional, I was so fired up by the ridiculous article I wasn't paying attention to my typing.  My grammatical error isn't the point, I made my point, the Chief will live on no matter what!!!!!!

Sid Saltfork wrote on April 09, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I was only jesting with you.  I apologize for it.  Now; take a deep breath, and calm down........  It is only a mascot.  I am curious why no replacement has been announced over all this time.  I still like HAL; just a red dot.  Surely, no one could complain about a red dot? 

Tom Napier wrote on April 08, 2014 at 8:04 pm

First, I'll give the young lady the benefit of the doubt and assume 1) she really exists and 2) she's legitimately troubled and not artificially grandstanding or otherwise simply drawing attention to herself. I would sincerely hope she receives the proper counseling, support, and whatever else she needs to resume a healthy life with a promising future. I hope she can appreciate that those who are not offended by the Chief really, really do not dislike her and mean her no harm, either personally or as a member of an ethnic group.

That said, this story is troubling in many ways.

It's troubling that an image is said to inflict such harm. To be so disturbed by images is an issue really deeper than the images themselves. An image, in and of itself, has no meaning. Meaning is assigned through context and conditioning. To some, the C-u-b-s logo is a sign of spring, optimism, and the promise of something better this year. To others, it's a symbol of distain and chronic failure. Those nurtured in North Side or Down State cultures absorb these values from others. If the young lady is a senior, she's never seen Chief Illiniwek personally, only t-shirts and car stickers. I wonder what sort of conditioning she's experienced to associate such feelings with one image.

I recently purchased a Chiefs hat in New Zealand. No, not Chief Illiniwek, but the Super 15 Rugby League Champion (three years running) Chiefs. Their logo has interesting parallels with the Chief Illiniwek graphic. It features a stylized Maori warrior clutching a patu (war club) with the word "Chiefs" in bold letters across the bottom. This logo is respected by New Zealanders, both Maori and White, with the possible exception of the other fourteen teams and their fans. In the US, where there is no context or conditioning, it's just some guy on a hat.

It's troubling that personal harm (academic problems, suicidal ideation, others) is attributed to this one graphic composition. It would be useful to know if the young lady experienced repeated verbal abuse, physical attack, discrimination or other assaults on her dignity. If these didn't occur, these feelings would seem to be self-originated.  As a Chief supporter and wearer of Chief Illiniwek apparel, the last thing in the world I want to see is a bright young student abused and distraught, regardless of gender, ethnic background, economics or any other characterization. I wonder what makes her think I, or anyone else of similar sympathies, would do her harm? It certainly would not be from any encounter with me personally.

It's troubling that events that happened so long ago and are no longer of our recent or current societies invoke such feelings. There's no denying terrible things were inflicted upon Native Americans. Chief opponents are fond of saying "get over it" in discussions about the Chief's place in University of Illinois history and culture. Yet, they revel in the past when it's convenient to assume the role of the victim. My father was shot at by Japanese in the Pacific Islands, yet he never hated the Japanese and never felt threatened by Japanese imagery. In fact, he purchased what must have been one of the first Hitachi transistor radios available in the US. Two of them. My mother's brothers had Japanese, ltalans, and Germans shooting at them in various parts of the world. Yet, they held no lingering animosity to Japanese, Italians, or Germans. My mother's grandparents were Irish, and were oppressed by the British. Oh, her brothers fought shoulder to shoulder with other British units in New Guinea and North Africa. The British inflicted great suffering on the American Colonists. Yet, how many Americans sacrificed their lives defending Great Britain in two World Wars. Societies adapt and adjust to their histories. Comments such as those by football jingoist (#5 at present) serve only to inhibit this adjustment, to prevent "moving on."

I harbor a thorough dislike for Notre Dame University, largely because of their stupid people-aren't-mascots leprechaun mascot who probably isn't even Irish.  And Touchdown Jesus -- a fine example of the misappropriation of religious symbols. Despite that, I think I've lead a reasonably well adjusted life thus far.

To say "get over it" would trivialize this young lady's problems. However, this long-held animosity and fear would certainly seem to be abnormal.

It's troubling that some think a march is really helping the young lady. If I thought it was constructive, I would love to participate. And, no, I wouldn't wear my Chief jacket or hat. However I wouldn't think making a public spectacle would be as useful as friends, their personal support, and the appropriate medical attention. In fact, I suspect such a gathering would just as likely reinforce the young lady's fears, not resolve them. The march is probably out of her hands anyway.

Again, I hope the young lady finds the help she needs and will succeed with her studies, career, and life.

  

Tom Napier wrote on April 08, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Let's not forget the University of Illinois had an opportunity to research Illiniwek Confederation culture and develop a historically correct and culturally appropriate representation of this region's First Inhabitants. The University of Illinois administration rejected this opportunity no if's, and's or butts. Would the young lady be suffering as she is if the University's symbols and graphics are accurate and acceptable to the Native American community?

cretis16 wrote on April 09, 2014 at 8:04 am

***Breaking news******

Student now intends to transfer to Florida State

 

Skepticity wrote on April 09, 2014 at 10:04 am

The issue that concerns me is not that a Native American student is troubled by being exposed to Chief garments. She has a right to feel what she feels, and to write a letter to the university.  Whether she arrived at this emotional state on her own or with the encouragement of activists, she has a right to voice her objections.  Too bad it didn't end there. 

It is about attention seeking in the name of a cause.  It is about the ongoing practice of young persons dramatizing and demonstrating about perceived grievences at the drop of a hat.  It is about organized activist groups protesting and using media to get more attention for their cause(s). 

This is a carryover from the 60's & 70's antiwar demonstrations and civil rights movements.  Students want their voices to be heard.  They are now legally adults (or close to it), they are away from home and out of the direct supervision of their parents.  They are at a developmental stage when they can easily be engaged in  supporting any cause labeled as a struggle against injustice.  They are at an emotional stage of development that makes them ripe for recruitment as troops for activists. 

The issues that are protested by youths may or may not have validity, but the readiness of youth to protest and get "emo" based on limited information is well documented. 

It has been a long cold snowy winter, people have been cooped up, finals are approaching, spring has sprung, and students are protesting. 

Same as it ever was...

 

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on April 09, 2014 at 10:04 am

Quite frankly, I'd like to know why all of this is even news-worthy!  We're talking about ONE, SINGLE, INDIVIDUAL student......not a small group, not a large group....and certainly NOT a majority.   Numerous students have issues every year with this, that and the other thing......it's called "growing up".   If this young lady is having so many issues now, what's she gonna do when she leaves the coddled santuary that she's in now and has to go out into the real world? 

C-U Townie wrote on April 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm

While I can understand your point... one student is not just one student when that student is one of 24 Native American students on the UIUC campus. And we have roughly 42000 other students. 24 our of 42000 does make her single plight a little more interesting. That said, I agree more with your last statement. She needs serious psychological help. She is clearly incapable of handling what she identifies as trauma. I would worry that she's a liability for the campus. What if she decided to go nuts on a student wearing the Chief symbol and seriously hurts someone? We'd have a lot more to worry about than a retired mascot. The one traumatized by the memory of slaughter now produces traumatic memories.

Tom Napier wrote on April 09, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I read the Daily Illini article on the Walk for Xochiti. I amend my statement about giving her the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I believe she seriously objects to Chief Illiniwek. No, don't believe she's been traumatized to point of dysfunction by viewing images.

The giveaway? The smell of smoke.

The DI article reports " 'on March 11, I had the thought that I should commit suicide.' At the event, Sandoval told attendees that she is still upset, but is now OK.' "

I'm no psychiatrist, but I do know these are hardly the symptoms of suicidal ideation. You don't just snap out of it, and certainly not in less than a month. No. It doesn't work like that. I have friends and co-workers who suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. Their lives were actually, physically in jeopardy. Repeatedly. And they'll suffer for years. I'm required to take Suicide Prevention Training annually at work. There are indicators of suicide ideation that may last a lifetime, and which are devastating to the family as well as to the individual. I had a very close friend commit suicide. It was a terrible and very personal proposition, not something one would perform like a circus trick in a highly visible public forum. Only the gullible, or very stupid, would fall for something like this. Unfortunately, there are plenty in the University of Illinois community, includig some esteemd PhDs.

Then, there's Steven Kauffman. His appearance suggests opportunism and little more. His remarks rail against the University of Illinois, as opposed to comforting and supporting a troubled individual. A photo op is more likely his motivation.

Speaking of photos, the DI article displays a photograph of people who attended this rally .... er, this walk of support. I counted forty-plus While it may have cut off a couple, the photograph portrayed just about all of those gathered. Let's round up to 50. At nearly fifty thousand students enrolled at the UI, one in a thousand showed up. Even Illini Football draws better than that.

Speaking of miniscule minorities, I'm offended by Ms. Sandoval's recommendation to the Chancellor to "prohibit students from wearing apparel or accessories associated with Chief Illiniwek." One student is going to dictate to almost fifty thousand others what they can wear and what they can't wear. That's rich. I'm going to suggest to the Chancellor that people remove their Gore 2000 bumper stickers from their cars (yes, I still see them). I'll demand young men stop wearing their pants down around their ... thighs. I'll demand that all outer wear be beige, clean, and devoid of logos and symbols; not a mark on them. I'll demand everyone, men and women, wear Grateful Dead T-Shirts on Thursdays. I'll demand everyone wave Chairman Mao's Little Red Book and participate in indoctrination sessions every afternoon. And twice on Sundays. And I'll demand they'll LIKE IT! I expect Chancellor Wise will implement my manifesto next week. No, no one's going to tell me what kind of t-shirt, jacket, hat, or socks I can wear. As long as it's within the bounds of public decency, I'll wear whatever I please.

What's the most disturbing, in my opinion, is the young lady's (and her handlers') exploitation of peoples sensitivities. Of the thirty-some comments generated by this News Gazette article, almost all of them express sympathy for a troubled young lady and hopes for her well being, regardless of their opinions about Chief Illiniwek. What we got in return was an exercise in self-absorption; a staged rant against the University for not having implemented an Orwellian campus environment; and a large dose of disrespect for the majority within the University community. Same old stuff. That's OK. Just keep that smoke coming. It shows the extremists' true colors.

If nothing else, one should complete their college careers knowing that hucksterism, artificial indignation, violation of trust, exploitation of others good nature for one's own purposes, and manipulation of peoples emotions have very, very limited appeal out here in the real world. These behaviors may achieve some instant gratification, but will only be an embarrassment in the long haul.

There are many, many more people, caring, concerned people, who choose to display the Chief Illiniwek graphic; many times more than those who object. And, we're entitled to our opinions just the same as the extremists are entitled to theirs. To borrow the lingo popular with the anti-Chief extremists, Get Over It. Move On.

C-U Townie wrote on April 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Well said. As I posted in a reply to another individual this girl needs serious psychological help. She is clearly incapable of handling trauma (and saying it's trauma is a bit of a stretch). I think we should also worry about her being a possible liability for the campus. What if, due to her trauma, she attacks someone who is wearing the Chief symbol? Will her behavior be justified because UIUC subjected her to trauma by not banning the Chief logo? I think this has less to do with a retired mascot and more to do with mental health. While she may be one of 24 Native American students on the UIUC campus that does not mean she can throw the entire campus under the bus. Focus on ways to promote understanding of Native American culture. Don't threaten suicide to get attention and then act as if we should have a million man march on campus. Try for reasonable action. Not self-gratifying action.

C-U Townie wrote on April 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm

While I can understand her concerns, I also strongly feel this has more to do with a root problem that is not being discussed. This isn't about telling her to "get over it" but rather to seek help. Someone who is that emotionally vulnerable needs to learn coping skills to deal with that type of inner turmoil. While it is by no means an excuse, UIUC will not be the last place she is exposed to offensive material. She should seek help to deal with this type of trauma so that in the future if she encounters material or behavior she finds offensive she is able to cope without feeling as though suicide is the answer.

That should be her next steps, not holding a protest. While I sympathize with her situation I am hesitant to support her intiative based on the mental health concerns... among other things.

Illiniwek222 wrote on April 11, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Does she get upset when she sees a Jeep Cherokee?

Is it worse if she sees a Grand Cherokee??

drewbert41 wrote on April 14, 2014 at 11:04 am

Better yet does she have these thoughts when she sees white people?

White people did it!

Also, a wrongly portrayed mascot should not make you want to take your life.

 

 

drewbert41 wrote on April 14, 2014 at 11:04 am

My ancestors killed her ancestors.

The chief does not symbolize that.

The Chief is in the past so all sides stop whining.

sweet caroline wrote on April 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm

She just wants her 15 minutes of fame.  She got it.  It was a slow news week.