Chief opponent: Stop playing halftime music

Chief opponent: Stop playing halftime music

Updated 1:10 p.m.

Noted Chief Illiniwek opponent Stephen Kaufman urged University of Illinois trustees today to stop playing the Chief's dance music at halftime, but that suggestion didn't appear to win over Chancellor Robert Jones.

In public comments to the board, Kaufman commended the campus for dropping the "war chant" music at UI athletic events but said the university needs to take other steps to distance itself from the controversial symbol, which was retired in 2007.

He called on the UI to stop the sale of merchandise with Chief logos, end the association of the nickname "Fighting Illini" with Native Americans, stop supporting appearances by unofficial Chief portrayers at UI events, and stop the appointment of new Chiefs by others, as the symbol is the property of the university.

Kaufman, an emeritus UI professor, said the UI has failed to fulfill the original resolution retiring the Chief, which called for an end to the use of Native American imagery as an athletic symbol along with "the related regalia" and logo.

"There is no place in America for the perpetuation of of racism and racial stereotyping," Kaufman said.

Notably, Kaufman didn't call for dropping the name "Fighting Illini" but restoring it to its "original connotation." He pointed out that the agreement with the NCAA allowing the university to continue using the name urged that it conduct an educational campaign to help people understand its origins and "the lack of any direct association with Native Americans."

The name was originally used to honor soldiers who fought in World War I.

Illinois "can be a leader" in the national movement to remove racial symbols that "dishonor, promote discord & perpetuate racial hostility," Kaufman said.

Trustees and administrators didn't respond directly to Kaufman's remarks.

Afterward, Jones said he's had "many conversations" with Kaufman on the subject and "he and I don't see necessarily eye to eye on the issues, so I don't have much more to add."

But he reiterated that the "Three-in-One" music and the name "Fighting Illini" aren't going anywhere.

"We've tried to make that clear, and we'll continue to say it again and say it again and say it again," he said.

Jones said those issues have come up in conversations with constituents, as many other topics do.

"People want to talk to you about a wide array of issues, and so yes people have brought both of those issues up to us. As far as I'm concerned, and members of my leadership team are concerned, those issues are things that were part of this university long before the so-called Chief. So we just have to move on now and focus on the main issue of educating our students."

Later, Trustee Tim Koritz said the music for the Three-in-One medley was written several years before the Chief's appearance at UI games. While it has since acquired an association with the Chief, "the music predated the dance," he said. "That's an important distinction, I think."

Kauman said the music was composed to "mimic American Indian culture and it is demeaning."

"Juicing up the crowd to scream, "CHIIEEEF" is no different than encouraging other racial epithets," Kaufman said.

"If the University of Mississippi recognized that it was the right thing to cease playing Dixie after 70 years, certainly, the UI administraiton can exhibit similar leadership," he said.

Koritz, who served in the Air Force, supported the idea of educating people about the historical roots of the Fighting Illini nickname.

"I'm ex-military, I have strong feelings for people who served their country," he said.

***

In public comments at today's UI Board of Trustees meeting in Urbana, longtime Chief Illiniwek opponent Stephen Kaufman urged the board to stop playing the "Three In One" music at halftime of UI football and basketball games.

Here's more from staff writer Julie Wurth, who is on scene:

 

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Thewatcher wrote on September 07, 2017 at 12:09 pm

If it were up to Kaufman he'd get rid of anything that happened to in place at the time the Chief was around, including the school colors.  He has his answer.  Time to go away for a long, long time.

rsp wrote on September 07, 2017 at 12:09 pm

So he wants the UI to give up the copyright and let anyone use it? Wonder how that will turn out. I can just see it now. "Why are you letting them do that?? You own the copyright! Stop them!" Oops. Have to use it to keep it.

So sad, and I was going to make millions on the condoms.

What I really want to know is, why have I ran into a person dressed like a Native American, in costume in other words, at football games with police protection?

If I wore clown clothes to the game would I get in the gate? A police escort? Or just escorted off the property?

Bwp 5P wrote on September 07, 2017 at 12:09 pm

He needs to lead an Exodus of people Offended by the sound of musical notes!!

Apparently he has a huge Ego he must feed, to keep bringing this stuff up.

Golfnut wrote on September 07, 2017 at 12:09 pm

And so i begins. The slow drip, drip, drip becomes a flood.

They want it all gone. Just take the state name while your at it. 

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on September 07, 2017 at 1:09 pm

People want to talk to you about a wide array of issues, and so yes people have brought both of those issues up to us. As far as I'm concerned, and members of my leadership team are concerned, those issues are things that were part of this university long before the so-called Chief. So we just have to move on now and focus on the main issue of educating our students."

 

What do mean by this Bob?   Lets just cut tot he chase since you and Steve probably hang together.

 

When are you going to say that ' the atmosphere has changed, it is time for anew and the 3 -1 is gone"

 

my guess?

 

May 2019

Jeff H wrote on September 07, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Very well said about "the so-called Chief."

As a New Yorker of 25 years who's never lost allegiance to the U of I, I'd like to point out that Chancellor Jones arrived in Champaign-Urbana from Albany University, which is part of the State University of New York system, aka SUNY.  His previous employer was called SUNY Albany for years, now changed to Albany University.

I make this point because SUNY and it's counterpart, City University of NY (CUNY) are some of the most leftist, PC environments around.  As an example one of the CUNY campuses invited Linda Sarsour to speak at its commencement ceremony this past May.  In case some readers are unfamiliar with Sarsour, she is a militant Islamic extremeist who calls for sharia law to be implemented in the US and jihad to be waged against the current Administration, among many other things.  She also has relatives who have been imprisoned by the Israelis for terrorist activity in the Mideast.

I mention all this to reiterate - this is the environment from which Chancellor Jones joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  At the time he was hired I admit I didn't think much of it.  However following his statement that dropping the War Chant "was my call," I'm very uneasy at the prospect of Chancellor Jones in his position for an extended period.  

honor9chief wrote on September 12, 2017 at 5:09 pm

:)

BruckJr wrote on September 07, 2017 at 3:09 pm

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

 

wayward wrote on September 07, 2017 at 11:09 pm

Shame we can't turn Godwin's Law into a mascot.

GLG wrote on September 07, 2017 at 3:09 pm

There will be a Chief, the Three in One, The Fighting Illini, and the tradititions that are

Illinois sports long after Kaufman is dead and gone!! There is no end to it with these l

iberals! They don't like something and you shouldn't either!  How long before

Kaufman shows up at the games and yells obscenities  and screams like the idiot

"Bill" did at the Assembly Hall before the Chief was retired??  

His cheese is sliding off his cracker!

 

UIUCHoopFan wrote on September 07, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Perhaps he should head to Florida and negotiate the atmospheric offensiveness that is Hurricane Irma! 

BigD wrote on September 07, 2017 at 6:09 pm

See what you re-started genius - Chancellor Jones.  Give an inch and they'll take a mile.  Great work!  Just couldn't leave it alone.  And now neither will they......  How does the U of I get so lucky with hiring such smart people?

OrlandoIllini wrote on September 08, 2017 at 9:09 am

Stephen Kaufman spends his valuable time being incensed and sanctimonious about a very narrow topic, a university’s honored symbol of its sports teams. He manufactures condescending explanations that he is protecting people from racism. His intolerance of other people’s opinions and beliefs makes him the quintessential 21st-century American college professor. Some might opine he has some sort of Don Quixote syndrome, yet he is no D.Q. Instead, he seems to mimic a virulent version of Helen Lovejoy from the Simpsons.

Actually we need him in Florida now, to protect us from Irma: he could face into the storm’s winds and keep talking; in short order, the storm’s fury would be quelled by this simple counter-measure.

 

Tom Napier wrote on September 08, 2017 at 1:09 pm

When Robert Jones was appointed Chancellor, I thought he’d be a reasonable, straight-up guy. I liked him. Now I conclude just the opposite.

My total loss of respect comes not from his purging of the “war chant” but from his capitulation to one very, very narrow interest; those who seek only to disrupt but offer nothing else constructive.

Mr. Jones had “many conversations” with Steven Kaufman. How many conversations has he had with University of Illinois Alumni Association representatives? How about students and staff? How I get on Jones’ calendar for “many conversations?” I earned two degrees from the UI and taught there for ten years. Is my opinion worthless? How can he assess the sentiment within the University community without soliciting a diverse source of input, noting “diversity” shares the same root with “divergent.”

Mr. Kaufman can waste the Chancellor’s time with “many conversations” but others are shut out of the decision process. The puppeteer controls the puppet and the few control the many. Some way to run a University.

Some ideas:

Change the UI’s colors to Black and Black – chromatically the absence of all color – to avoid offending anyone with an imagined meaning to any specific color.

Change the UI’s name to That University at 40.1106° N, 88.2073° W to avoid offending anyone with any name of cultural, historic, or geographical meaning.

Change the team name to That Team from That University at 40.1106° N, 88.2073° W to avoid ofending anyone with any reference to humans, animals, plants, inanimate objects, or any other noun, proper or common. 

Change the UI Marching Band’s repertoire to total silence to avoid offending anyone with an imagined meaning to any two consecutive musical notes. Or one note. Heck, just disband the Band.

Drop all athletic competitions to avoid offending anyone who imagines sports are a thinly disguised substitute for violent, primal war play and exercise in domance. Even golf. Then, demolish all athletic facilities to erase athletics from memory.

Drop all academic competitions to avoid offending anyone who isn't the smartest person in the room.

Disband the UI Speech and Debate Team to avoid offending anyone who is offended by opinions other than theirs.  Debate is no longer tolerated, much less invited, so debate skills are no longer necessary, as evidenced by a few frequent commentors to NG articles.

Disband the University of Illinois Alumni Association, the vast majority of whom disagree with Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Jones.

Disband the UI Department of Media and Cinema Studies to avoid offending anyone with a controversial production or content.  Heck, disband the whole UI College of Fine and Applied Arts to avoid any offense created by controversial works of art, dance, theater, music, and/or architecture.  Same with the UI School of Literature and Linguistics.  Yeah, just avoid any creative controversy altogether. 

Stop teaching coping skills. No one should ever be exposed to, or need to respond to real world problems.

Appoint Mr. Kaufman to review all donors to ensure their opinions are consistent with his. If not, the UI will refuse their donation.

Mandate all students and faculty wear identical clothing devoid of any verbiage, graphics, patterns, or style, with the possible exception of identification numbers. I suggest beige overalls with white Velcro-strapped tennis shoes.

And finally, form a committee to design a safe University of Illinois so no one, absolutely no one will ever be offended by anything ever again. Ever.

Objective Reporter wrote on September 08, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Why do the velcro-laced shoes have to be white?  Huh?  Racist.....You hurt my feelings.

 

"All in all, it's just another brick in the wall."

Tom Napier wrote on September 09, 2017 at 10:09 am

White is the chromatic ... inclusion ... of all colors.  Nothing to offend here. 

But the real reason is that white shoes show dirt better so The Powers That Be can detect if you've stepped out of line. 

honor9chief wrote on September 12, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Orange and Blue

charlesf wrote on September 09, 2017 at 8:09 pm

hi friendly commenter! as a CUNY alum, I'd like to clarify that, while SUNY and CUNY both receive funding from NY state, they are completely independent of one another. thanks for your cogent and coherent commentary tho!

uiba99 wrote on September 11, 2017 at 3:09 pm

So, if the Fighting Illini were named after WWI veterans, why not just have a doughboy as our mascot? Seems like a fair way to honor our fallen alumni, especially given the history of Memorial Stadium as well.

 

Just saying. ;)