23, No. 22, June 17, 2004
pass resolution for consensus on Chief issue
UIC News Bureau
The UI Board of
Trustees passed a resolution about Chief Illiniwek, agreeing to come
to a "consensus-conclusion."
About 60 anti- and
pro-chief supporters attended the meeting June 17 in Chicago, often
becoming vocal as members of the public addressed the board.
Urbana sophomore Nicholas Klitzing said he has "complete respect
and reverence" for Chief Illiniwek. He pointed out that students
voted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the chief as the school's symbol
in an April referendum. About 35 percent of the school's student body
cast a vote in that referendum.
"The honored tradition of the chief should continue," he said.
"Chief Illiniwek unites the campus."
Kim Cook, an attorney and board member of the American Indian Center
of Chicago, disagreed.
"I am from the Cherokee nation," he said. "Why has it
taken the university so long to realize the chief is a racist symbol?
"Your duty as a university is to teach respect for ethnic minorities."
Former trustee Susan Gravenhorst spoke in favor of retaining the chief,
saying it was a symbol at a university that she has been a part of for
more than 50 years.
The consensus-compromise angered the anti-chief group and Urbana student
trustee Nate Allen.
"Looking at this consensus-conclusion resolution, I am highly skeptical
it is different from a compromise," Allen said. "Why hide
behind abstract language? I don't buy it and I don't think the public
will buy it."
As Allen tried unsuccessfully to amend the resolution to include a timeline
or get rid of the chief altogether, anti-chief supporters stood silently
with one arm raised in a fist.
Although trustee Frances Carroll said she was committed to her original
resolution that would have asked for the university to retire the chief,
she did not introduce the resolution.
After the meeting, board chairman Lawrence Eppley said the resolution
is an "indication we are willing to evaluate the chief.