UI student government group renewing push to find mascot

UI student government group renewing push to find mascot

URBANA — A student government resolution to be introduced tonight calls on University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones to revive the process of finding a new mascot.

The Illinois Student Government resolution reaffirms support for a 2016 recommendation from an ad hoc student senate committee that was endorsed by former interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson and UI President Tim Killeen.

If approved, it would urge Jones to "immediately convene a steering committee composed of student, faculty and University community members to initiate the process to generate a new mascot."

The resolution says the continued presence of "offensive Native American imagery is deeply harmful to many students and runs counter to our values of inclusion."

Sponsor Rahul Raju said the measure will likely be introduced tonight and referred to committee for further discussion and possible revisions. He hopes it could then be voted on next week.

"Between the leadership transition and other priorities, we lost track of the mascot issue," Raju said. "The intent here is to reaffirm the student government's commitment and to sort of raise the visibility and the priority of the issue of getting a new mascot."

The issue is a longstanding one for student government, but the timing was spurred in part by anti-Chief protests and other events over homecoming weekend, he said.

"I think it's been elevated over the weekend, certainly," he said.

The Ad Hoc Committee on the Exploration of a University Mascot held extensive hearings and gathered input from students, faculty, alumni, athletes, community members and other stakeholders about the idea in 2015-16. The panel included people from both sides of the Chief debate, such as former Chief portrayer Ivan Dozier, though he disagreed with the ultimate recommendation.

"We tried to incorporate a diversity of views," said Raju, who served on the committee.

Testimony from community members and alumni strongly opposed a new mascot, though some who liked the Chief felt it was time to "move on." Students were split, with more in favor. Faculty and staff expressed strong support and argued that it could be unifying for the campus.

The committee recommended proceeding, saying that students don't have anything tangible to rally around at athletic events and that the Chief's retirement left a "void." The UI retired Chief Illiniwek in 2007 under pressure from the NCAA and others who argued that it was racist.

The student panel said a mascot could provide considerable marketing and branding appeal, boost school spirit, appeal to younger students and fans, and help combat continued use of offensive images of the Chief, especially during the Unofficial St. Patrick's Day drinking holiday.

The committee also said it was important, as part of the process, for the campus to officially recognize the Chief as an important part of the UI's history and traditions.

Wilson endorsed the idea in May 2016, calling the report "thorough and thoughtful." She announced a process to form a mascot committee with 10 to 12 members — students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members and representatives of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

But the effort was put on hold during the transition to a new chancellor, and Jones said last winter that a new mascot was not a top priority.

Jones was not available to comment on the proposal Tuesday afternoon.

"The chancellor feels pretty strongly that we need to have a conversation, a series of conversations, to try to come to a common understanding and maybe a reconciliation. That's really the next step in the process of moving beyond where we are now," said campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

The student government resolution says the steering committee should "incorporate a diverse range of views, especially from students, in regard to what the mascot should be."

It also urges the university to reconsider the use of the Chief Illiniwek logo by private vendors. The UI holds the trademark for the Chief logo and allows it on some merchandise through a special licensing program in order to keep the trademark active.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Pine Lounge of the Illini Union. Raju said a crowd is expected for the public comment period to talk about "events of the past week."

Anti-Chief protesters blocked part of Friday's homecoming parade, which included an unofficial Chief portrayer. And police were called to a "Meet the Chief" presentation by Dozier when a UI employee tore down several flyers for the event and was grabbed by another employee who was there.

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Bystander wrote on November 01, 2017 at 7:11 am
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Chancellor Jones should reject this PC committee. The mascot for the University of Illinois will always be Chief Illiniwek. 

jwr12 wrote on November 01, 2017 at 11:11 am

Of course, philosophers of the pro-chief party have created a whole system of high-flying nonsense about how the chief wasn't a mascot, so thanks for clarifying and admitting the obvious.  It helps put all that stuff about honoring native cultures through creating large orange generic images of them and kitschy buckskin dances to bed.

jwr12 wrote on November 01, 2017 at 11:11 am

Of course, philosophers of the pro-chief party have created a whole system of high-flying nonsense about how the chief wasn't a mascot, so thanks for clarifying and admitting the obvious.  It helps put all that stuff about honoring native cultures through creating large orange generic images of them and kitschy buckskin dances to bed.

CallSaul wrote on November 01, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Nope.

The old racist mascot stopped being the school's mascot quite awhile ago...

...tt was in the papers...

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on November 02, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Hey Jimmy

 

Lets you and I go down on a road trip to Tuscola and then Sullivan.  go to a bb game.  Start demanding that they get rid of the Native American logos that they have.

 

Ill take the 120.00 for your bond.

Objective Reporter wrote on November 01, 2017 at 8:11 am

Agreed, but this thread will turn into the same "conversation" we've heard for years.  Both sides will attack each other with the same old arguments and we'll end up right where we are, with neither side being satisfied and with no true resolution.

Common Sense wrote on November 01, 2017 at 10:11 am

I'd like to suggest something that should be agreeable and appropriate for the libtards.

They can have a snowflake and normal people can keep the Chief.

CallSaul wrote on November 01, 2017 at 11:11 am

Here's a better idea:

Since, in addition to clinging to the racist old mascot, you also --- predictably, of course --- don't think blackface is the least bit racist, why don't you pull your very own Dancin' Homer routine...?

Paint yourself up real good in blackface and then head on down to one of the games to see how people react.

You could even bring along the other NG RWNJ trolls, the whole bunch of you slathered up good in your totally not racist blackface...

You're bound to get...uh...a reaction...

Just please let us know before hand when and where you'll be doing this because I wouldn't miss it for the world...

Common Sense wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Irrelevant, as are you.

Apparently you also don't know the definiton of racist.

CallSaul wrote on November 01, 2017 at 2:11 pm

It's amusing that some people who frequently spout racist comments and take racist positions --- such as the claim that there's nothing racist about blackface as you absurdly insist --- but then whine and screech and cry whenenver anyone points out that their racist comments and positions are, y'know, racist...

It's like someone who constantly wears blue shirts having a meltdown hissy fit whenever anyone says their shirts are blue.

Weird...

Citizen1 wrote on November 01, 2017 at 10:11 am

Or comrade

Objective Reporter wrote on November 01, 2017 at 11:11 am

And, of course, it immediately goes south.  #shocker

tellingthetruth wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm

The name calling cracks me up, if you don't agree with something you're a libtard, racist comrad. The amount of energy and time for a "thing".  The dictionary defines a mascot as a person or thing that brings good luck or that is used to symbolize a particular event or organization.

There are many teams who don't have mascots at all, why is there a need for one?   Since we seem to HAVE to have a mascot to solve all of our worldly problems, my vote is for the "Diapers". It's full of poo yet serves its purpose.  That's politics in a nutshell.

Lostinspace wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm

The Gen Ed requirement is a joke, there is no evaluation of teaching effectiveness or of student learning, programs engage in grade inflation in order to retain students, equipment used in teaching is not kept up to date or maintained, TA stipends are so low that quality graduate students do not consider us.

So: let's talk about a make-believe Indian.

BruckJr wrote on November 01, 2017 at 2:11 pm

How much are the TA stipends now?

Lostinspace wrote on November 01, 2017 at 8:11 pm

It varies.  The programs the administration considers important (STEM) get more.  The ones they don't care about get less, basically the same as Social Security payments (below minimum wage).   For this, they teach three courses a year, with varying degrees of training and supervision.  Other places offer more, including full support for multiple years, often with fellowships (no teaching duties).

BruckJr wrote on November 02, 2017 at 7:11 am

When I was a TA in the '60s we got free tuition and what I considered to be a very nice paycheck.  Didn't have many issues with equipment used in teaching as it included only chalk and a blackboard.  Some days there was no chalk so you had to steal it from the neighboring classroom.  Oh, and there were fellowships though I didn't have one.

Illiniwek222 wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm

How about another vote of the student body with the Chief as an option. We all know how the last vote turned out.

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on November 01, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Poor Jimmy

 

The world is starting to turn on him and he has no safe place to go.

 

Maybe the U of I can make a safe room for you to go to and lick your wounds.

 

 

CallSaul wrote on November 01, 2017 at 6:11 pm

...ooops...

loopillini wrote on November 02, 2017 at 7:11 am

Peer institutions like The University of Michigan and Indiana University have both survived and thrived for decades without having a mascot. There is zero need to bring up this divisive issue again. No mascot is needed at The University of Illinois.

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on November 02, 2017 at 4:11 pm

uh

 

Michigan are the Wolverines....

 

Indiana are the Hoosiers.

 

but you knew that.

 

 

Tom Napier wrote on November 02, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Once again, I'll nominate "The Sucker" as the new University of Illinois mascot. 

The Sucker State is a traditional name for Illinois.  Represents state history. 

Suckers are invertebrate.  Represents the recent and current University of Illinois Administration.

Suckers leave a trail of slime.  Represents the State of Illinois form of Government.

Fans on the east side of Memorial Stadium (if it remains named that much longer) and The Assembly Hall (er, State Farm Center ... see what I mean) can yell "WE ARE ... " and fans on the west sides can yell " ... SUCKERS!"

Perfect!

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