Jim Dey: I've learned a few things as well, Chancellor Jones

Jim Dey: I've learned a few things as well, Chancellor Jones

OK, gang, listen up.

It's time for another foray into hate speech. That's the speech the apostles of tolerance on campus can't tolerate hearing.

Want an example? Cccccccchhhhhhhhiiiiiiieeeeeeefffffffff!

Kicked off by Professor Jay Rosenstein's excellent Jan. 22 bathroom adventure, today's chapter of our ongoing critical conversation concerns Chancellor Robert Jones' Sunday commentary ("What I've learned by listening") in which he excoriates your humble scribe for daring to suggest that he, as someone who grew up in the really oppressive days of Jim Crow in Georgia, might be less than impressed when hearing today's students bleating about how oppressed they are by the allegedly hostile atmosphere on campus, particularly as it relates to the memory of the late and longtime UI symbol Chief Illiniwek.

Chancellor Jones says it ain't so, that his experience as an "outsider" has left him especially attuned to those who feel put upon. As a consequence, he listens "when I am approached by a student who tells me she feels her culture and history are being disrespected and insulted when she watches someone dressing as Chief Illiniwek."

Jones said he does so "to understand the foundations of their perspectives and to respect the lived experiences that have brought them to these viewpoints."

In other words, he feels their pain.

The chancellor ought to get outside the university bubble more. If he did, he'd understand that, just as there are those, including Native Americans, who object to the use of Native American imagery in athletic competition, there are many more who do not.

For example, in 2016, The Washington Post, which opposes the Redskins name for the city's NFL franchise, reported the results of a poll that showed "nine in 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name."

At the time, the newspaper said the poll reveals "how few ordinary Indians have been persuaded by a national movement to change the football team's moniker."

Maybe Jones should listen to them, too. Don't hold your breath.

When people complain they aren't being listened to, what they really mean is their target audience doesn't agree. When a speaker tells a group that "I heard your message," it generally means he accepts it.

Here's an example of the difference. Last week, UI professors from the Senate's Faculty and Tenure Committee challenged Jones' decision to put Rosenstein on administrative leave. They insisted "there are procedures that have to be followed," that Rosenstein is being disciplined without having an opportunity to be heard.

"I feel comfortable with the course of action as being the best for the institution and Professor Rosenstein," Jones responded.

What happened to trying to "understand the foundations of their perspectives and to respect the lived experiences that have brought them to these viewpoints"?

Nothing, really. Jones listened and then made it clear he disagreed.

People, of course, are familiar with the clever use of one word to convey the meaning of another.

That's standard operating procedures in any bureaucracy, and a university is just another bureaucracy.

University administrators can't bring themselves to ignore the protests of anti-Chiefs who complain the pro-Chiefs still revere the Chief's memory.

That's why Jones hyperbolically opined that Chief Illiniwek's "legacy throws disruptive shadows across every aspect of our mission" and is "tearing us apart."

Nonsense. Does anyone in touch with reality think the memory of Chief Illiniwek undermines the daily functions of the UI in any way? Jones' assertion is not just laughable, but preposterous. Further, to the extent he treats the issue as a conflagration, Jones only ensures more of the hand-wringing he wants to go away.

Chief Illiniwek is long gone and never coming back. But his memory endures.

The pro-Chiefs have listened to the anti-Chiefs for years, and vice versa. They hear each other fine. They just don't agree.

Is that really so hard for Jones and the rest of the UI's bureaucratic army to understand?

Jim Dey, a member of The News-Gazette staff, can be reached by email at jdey@news-gazette.com or by phone at 217-351-5369.

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Glock21 wrote on February 06, 2018 at 7:02 am

Title is factually inaccurate.

PSL wrote on February 06, 2018 at 9:02 pm


Also there's an inaccurate use of the word "humble" in the column

rsp wrote on February 06, 2018 at 8:02 am

When I go to games I am surrounded by people who yell chief. It's nothing to do with the memories of a mascot. They don't even spend half the energy on their dead relatives. It's about shoving it in people's faces. You sit close enough to people and they make comments like "that will show them," among others. Every single game someone makes a remark about yelling chief having more to do with thumbing their noses at people that respect for "his memory".

So all that negative energy and anger is bad for their health. I've decided as much as I dislike it it's not worth the toll on my health. Anger like that causes cancer, heart disease, etc. I'll leave them to it.

Illiniwek222 wrote on February 06, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Thanks...please "leave them to it", if it means you won't be commenting on The Chief here again.

Innocent_Primate wrote on February 06, 2018 at 9:02 am

I would simply ask those who continually raise (regardless of their First Amendment right to do so) the Chief issue whether they believe it is in the best interests of the University to do so. If so, why ? Because of the good press and national attention ? Because of the University resources squandered in addressing the issue ? And if not, why is it that adults who presumably have the University's interests at heart continue to do so ? What is most important to them ?

juandez wrote on February 06, 2018 at 11:02 am

Being a Chief supporter at this point has very little to do with the Chief and a lot more to do with being part of a group of like minded people who don't like people who they perceive as "soft" or "liberal."

"How can I piss off some liberals?"


Illiniwek222 wrote on February 06, 2018 at 11:02 am

You really have no clue why the Chief is held in such high regard by his supporters, and you don't seem inclined to listen.

Innocent_Primate wrote on February 06, 2018 at 12:02 pm

To me, it's not about disrespecting the Chief or those who honor such memory, it's about priorities. Shouldn't the University's best interests take precedence ? Is it in the University's best interests to have this issue repeatedly rear its head ?

CallSaul wrote on February 06, 2018 at 3:02 pm

Please get off your high horse and can the sanctimonious and false narrative that those of us who oppose the racist old ex mascot are somehow some kind of 'elitists' who don't listen to or respect the supposed 'Real Americans' who all unquestioningly support the racist old ex mascot 100%.

You're obviously not inclined to listen to the people who oppose the racist old ex mascot, let alone give us the slightest measure of respect...


PSL wrote on February 06, 2018 at 9:02 pm

This is the saltiest column I've ever seen. Jim is furious that a black man disagreed with him.

lga wrote on February 08, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Agreed. This, following 8 years of an uppity black man in the White House, is probably enough to throw him over the edge. His racism seeps through every paragraph he writes.

juandez wrote on February 07, 2018 at 8:02 am

I had a similar thought.

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on February 07, 2018 at 6:02 pm

How do you feel about Chicago Black Hawk license plates there Jimmy?

billbtri5 wrote on February 07, 2018 at 9:02 pm

I'm going to speculate that there are a building or two on Campus where the occupants would tell you that in this Country people are "innocent until proven guilty", or something like that.  And until such time as that happens, conviction that is, no action should be taken against Mr. Rosenstein or anyone else who finds themselves in that position.  I'm a Chief supporter but objectively, it cuts both ways.



KlaatuSansGort wrote on February 08, 2018 at 8:02 am

In the end, one can only feel sorry for people such as these.

illinijd wrote on February 09, 2018 at 10:02 am
Profile Picture

Remember, sport's fans, it's not about the Chief, it's all about ego.

The Kaufmann/Rosenstein gang has nothing to do with helping the American Indian. It's all about their egos and they simply use destoying the Chief, history and tradition as their convoluted, twisted logic to make themselves feel important.

Anyone who proclaims themselve as a nationaly recognized videographer that should be left alone to do as he wishes is a self absorbed egomanic! The Police should have known how importent the Prof is and left him alone. That would probably have made the States Attorney happier.

Why doesn't K/R gang do something to help the American Indian? The American Indian doesn't care about the Chief or someone wearing a Chief Shirt. They care about Education, Alcoholism, Teen Pregnency, Gangs, and Drug use on the Reservation.

The K/R gang has won, give it up!



JohnRalphio wrote on February 10, 2018 at 6:02 pm

Maybe Mr. Dey could explain how the kids who vandalized the Red Herring because it didn't look "pro-Chief" were respectfully honoring tradition.

It's not enough for idiot Chiefheads to be bullying loudmouths in public. They want us to know that they're MISUNDERSTOOD, oppressed bullying loudmouths in public, every time someone dares to call them on it.