24, No. 5, Sept. 2, 2004
Central Association ‘focused visit’ report received
On Aug. 25, the UI received the report of a three-member committee of
the North Central Association on its “focused visit” to
the campus last April regarding the issue of Chief Illiniwek.
University officials noted the NCA, an accreditation organization for
higher education, has confirmed that the Chief is not in itself an accreditation
issue for the UI. The campus is a charter NCA member and has been continuously
accredited for 90 years.
The next NCA focused visit will be in 2006-07 and will assess the impact
of the Chief issue on the educational effectiveness of the campus. Interim
Chancellor Richard Herman said the campus will comply with the next
visit and will seek faculty members’ input on the issue of educational
effectiveness within the context of a commitment by the UI Board of
Trustees to a consensus resolution of the Chief matter.
“Our effectiveness in educating our students is always a central
consideration in all that we do. Because this issue is so important,
I believe it is essential that we obtain full and comprehensive information
concerning it,” Herman said.
Board Chairman Lawrence C. Eppley noted that while he and other board
members might take issue with some of the report’s conclusions
and challenge some of the NCA panelists’ personal opinions, he
concurred with the NCA’s conclusion that the Chief is not an accreditation
issue for the campus.
“The board has been clear that any resolution of the Chief issue
will be based upon consensus. Our goal remains, as we have said before,
a solution that best serves the university rather than particular interest
groups, and Interim Chancellor Herman’s approach should be an
ingredient of our deliberations,” Eppley said.
Chief Illiniwek is a symbol for athletic teams at the Urbana campus.
Supporters of the symbol say the 78-year tradition recognizes the state
of Illinois’ heritage and should be preserved, while critics say
it is a stereotype of Native Americans and should be discontinued.
For a copy of the report go to: www.uiuc.edu/resources/announcement1.html.