UI student government OKs resolution calling for mascot search

UI student government OKs resolution calling for mascot search

URBANA — A resolution calling on the University of Illinois to move forward with the search for a campus mascot was approved by the Illinois Student Government on Wednesday night.

The resolution, which passed on a 20-6 vote with one abstention, reaffirms support for a 2016 recommendation from an ad hoc student senate committee that was endorsed by former interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson. It was later put on hold because of the transition to a new chancellor and the state budget crisis.

The resolution calls for the creation of a steering committee — with a majority of student voting members — to initiate the process of choosing a mascot. It also recommends that committee be an ad hoc committee of the campus Senate.

The original version called on Chancellor Robert Jones to create a steering committee composed of students, faculty and community members.

Sponsor Rahul Raju said authors wanted to convey "the grassroots nature of the effort." He said the committee would still include representatives of the chancellor's office.

"Any initiative like this would still need administrative buy-in," he said before the vote. "We really want to work with them."

Raju said the resolution was amended based on feedback during committee discussions this past week and input from campus groups and "people on all sides of the discussion." The measure was approved by the student government's committee on campus affairs on a 9-0 vote with two abstentions, he said.

The language is more "matter of fact" now, Raju said, eliminating the phrase "new mascot" so the resolution takes no stand on whether Chief Illiniwek was a mascot or a symbol, for instance.

"Even down to the nitpick-y details, we've tried to de-escalate and make it as much of a consensus-building exercise as possible," Raju said.

The resolution also calls for a full endorsement of the chancellors's "critical conversation" on Native American imagery, planned for later this semester.

"We see that as part of the process as well," he said.

Language urging the UI to reconsider the use of the Chief logo by private vendors was removed.

But another amendment urges the administration to take "substantial action to increase scholarship and student education of Native Americans, including rebuilding the American Indian Studies department to its prior strength."

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Bystander wrote on November 09, 2017 at 6:11 am
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The mascot of the University of Illinois will always be Chief Illiniwek. A new mascot will not be accepted. There is no reason for the Pro-Chiefers to come to the table. A new mascot will be protested by the Pro-Chiefers like Chief Illiniwek is now. 

jlc wrote on November 09, 2017 at 8:11 am

Good for the students! Sounds like they're being thoughtful about the process and the larger context around it.

capt80 wrote on November 09, 2017 at 11:11 am

Thoughtful? Mostly clueless.

mstook423 wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm

The resolution states to "including rebuilding the American Indian Studies department to its prior strength."  Why should a campus that is financially challenged put money into a department that does not have enough students to support it.  That makes no since to me.



Tom Napier wrote on November 10, 2017 at 1:11 pm

The American Indian Studies Center was formed in response to the Louis Garripo report on Chief Illiniwek as a vehicle to bring awareness and education of Native Americans culture.  Instead it became a platform to ferment racial antagonism between white and minority students on the UI campus.  

I, personally, would support a rejuvination of an American Indian studies program if it maintains a legitimate awareness and educational focus and avoids becoming another panderer of guilt the UI community. 

Common Sense wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm

The snowflake mascot is still avialable.....

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on November 09, 2017 at 1:11 pm

The U of I does have a new mascot.  It was called  the Orange and Blue bird.... Assembly hall some 15 yrs ago........... he was inside a big gift wrapped box and then came out............


he was loudly booed.


End of the bird...........................


Student government is like grade school student council.  They have no impact on the running of the campus... but for these SJW it does look good on a resume...


remind me again how many U of I students voted in the last election?  17%........


Soldier on SWJ's  you do make a difference.

Citizen1 wrote on November 09, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Skip the mascot.  A mascot is not required.  Couldn't time and energy be better spent elsewhere?

Tom Napier wrote on November 10, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Students are important to resolving this issue. However, they are not the only stakeholders, and must not be the sole decision-makers. Furthermore, Student Government represents only a fraction of the student body.  Students come and go and their perspective of campus life is colored by a relatively thin slice of the total University of Illinois culture, observed over a relatively short period of time. Today's UI students hold a clearly different paradigm than my '70s paradigm; their values are clearly different than mine was while earning two degrees here. The University of Illinois' identity is enduring and must not be subject to the whims and whimsies of the moment.

An absolute necessity is a referendum open to the entire UI community; all students, all alumni, plus other stakeholder groups with direct ties to the UI. No outsiders or influence peddlers allowed. On the referendum must be a question of whether a " mascot" is necessary or desirable before any nomination of a "mascot" can be made. If the answer is "no" the issue is closed. If the answer is "yes," then a consensus of what that "mascot" should be can then be pursued. The result of the referendum should be binding; no squirming out of it because some narrow-interest group declares it invalid if they don't like the outcome. Without broad representation within the UI community any decision will, indeed, be invalid.

Tom Napier wrote on November 10, 2017 at 1:11 pm

" ... their values are clearly different than mine was while earning two degrees here."

Obviously, neither of my degrees was in English.  Their values are clearly different than mine WERE while earning two degrees here. 

My apologies.

Bystander wrote on November 11, 2017 at 8:11 am
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There will never be a simple vote on the mascot because the University will not allow the possibility that Chief Illiniwek would be voted back as the mascot. All proceedings regarding the mascot, from the university's perspective, will never allow Chief Illiniwek back, as a voting public would likely vote for. 

Community wrote on November 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm

If it were about a mascot wearing blackface, would you also ask that it be put up for a vote?

Tom Napier wrote on November 13, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Your comment suggests you and Lily Tomlin may have similar socio-political sensitivities. 

Being socio-politically aware as you appear to be, you do know one of Ms. Tomlin's characters is Pervis Hawkins, correct?  For this portrayal, Tomlin makes up in blackface, a modest afro hairdo and faux-beard, portraying a male African-American lounge singer.  Perhaps the blackface makup is a bit lighter skin tone than you may have in mind, but it is still "black" in the racial context. 

If it were about a white female entertainer wearing blackface and pretending to be a man, would you ask that it be put up for a vote? 

Or, more to the point, do you think Ms. Tomlin is reinforcing negative African-American stereotypes through this character?  Would you call her a racist bigot?

culaghter wrote on November 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

..I motion that the mascot name be changed to the "Carpenters"  as the major teams seem to be in a constant long term state of rebuilding.

..picture a oversized suit of a character similar to the Mario Brothers guy with a hammer in one hand and saw in the other...

totally non controversial ....


please send a check for $100 K......that's alot less than the U will spend on it ....