20, No. 10, Nov. 16, 2000
Report on the Chief
Mabry , Assistant Editor
(217) 244-1072; email@example.com
by Bill Wiegand
Louis Garippo presents his report on Chief Illiniwek to the
UI Board of Trustees Nov. 8.
It will likely be
spring before the UI Board of Trustees makes its response to the report
about Chief Illiniwek, according to William Engelbrecht, chairman of
About 100 people met in Foellinger Auditorium last week to hear Louis
B. Garippo, a retired Cook County circuit court judge, present his report
on the Chief to the trustees. The board hired Garippo to collect opinions
on the Chief from both those who favor keeping him and those who are
opposed to retaining him as a symbol for the UI sports teams.
Garippo received about 18,000 responses last spring from students, faculty
and staff members, alumni and the general public. He told the trustees
that those with strong feelings on both sides of the controversy have
criticized the report and called it unfair, but he said the goal was
to present a variety of views and hopefully be informative to those
new to the debate.
Garippo spent about 30 minutes at the start of the meeting explaining
how he had selected the information and why some material was included
and some was not. After he took a few questions from the trustees, a
short recess was called and those who attended were given the opportunity
to submit questions to the judge in writing.
Trustee Thomas Lamont asked the judge if he believed it was still possible
for there to be some sort of a compromise between the two sides in the
But Garippo said he wasnt prepared to comment on that because
that would be expressing his own opinions. He said he considered his
role to be simply that of collecting the facts and presenting them in
a concise fashion, objectively.
One of the questions the audience asked the judge was if it is true
that the majority no longer rules.
"Certainly the majority doesnt rule on the issue of whats
right or moral or proper," Garippo said.
Another asked if hed be donating some of his earnings to deserving
Native American organizations. (Garippo estimated his law firm will
be billing the university about $150,000 for the report.)
"Thats a good question," Garippo said of the donation.
"I hadnt thought of that before."
About 15 minutes short of the scheduled 3:30 adjournment time, Trustee
Gerald Shea suggested that most of the questions from the audience were
repetitive and about whether or not the Garippo thought the report was
"I think he did what he thought was a fair job," he said.
"Now it is up to us to take the report, read it and go from there."
Shea then moved to adjourn the meeting.
Before the trustees did so, Garippo said he has not been part of some
"deep dark conspiracy" that was determined to have the report
come out favoring one side or another.
"When I was asked to do this I didnt care. Its not
my school and I didnt care" about the Chief, Garippo said.
"Now after studying the issue maybe I have some care," he
said. "But any care I have was really developed after I finished
After the trustees adjourned, Stephen Kaufman, professor of cell and
structural biology, and some other members of the audience protested
the end of the meeting before the scheduled 3:30 time. Kaufman said
Garippo had not answered any of the questions submitted by him and members
of the Illinois Chapter of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports
and the Media.
"Is this anything more than a charade?" Kaufman yelled to
the departing trustees. "What are you afraid of sir?" he yelled
"You did not answer a single question that Cyd Crue (an activist)
and I presented," Kaufman yelled. "We work as hard as you
do and we dont receive a penny for it."
Trustee Engelbrecht said the board would "hopefully respond in
some fashion" to the report in the spring.