Monday, August 01, 2005

Editorial: Chief Illiniwek decision needs to get out of limbo

Pantagraph Editorial

Monday, August 1, 2005

Chief Illiniwek decision needs to get out of limbo

The longer the decision on the future of the Chief Illiniwek remains in limbo, the more this issue will generate ill will among those on both sides, and toward the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The decision should be made soon.

On June 17, 2004, U of I trustees approved a resolution concerning Chief Illiniwek by a vote of 9-1.

It was resolved that "the board shall seek a consensus conclusion to the matter of Chief Illiniwek, and that the board should next consider and approve guidelines pursuant to which a consensus conclusion will be based."

Over a year later, little has been reported about progress, and the issue continues to percolate, if not boil.

Those alumni and fans who support keeping the Chief, some who saw his first performance in 1926, love him even more. They have transferred to their team the alleged Illini tribe meaning of "Illiniwek," as "the complete human being -- the strong, agile human body; the unfettered human intellect; the indomitable human spirit."

The performance by Chief Illiniwek has become a revered tradition and any threat of discontinuing it evokes very strong emotions. In fact, a report to the board by its legal counsel indicated that a recent Sun-Times Poll concluded that 86 percent of Illinois residents favor keeping the Chief.



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