Trustees to vote on eighth Chief guideline

By Courtney Linehan

The University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees added two new items to its monthly meeting agenda Friday.

One of those items is a proposal for an $11 million conference center on the south end of campus. The other item deals with Chief Illiniwek.

Item 8b adds an eighth guideline to the Board’s “Consensus Resolution” policy regarding the debate over the Chief. It does not raise the question of retiring the University symbol, but adds another element for the Board to consider in coming to a resolution.

The new item says the Board will “recognize the University’s goals of having high integrity athletic programs, winning teams and athletes who are successful students and who have the opportunity to compete at the highest levels.”

This eighth guideline comes a month after the NCAA introduced a policy disallowing American Indian mascots, logos and nicknames from appearing at NCAA championship events. That policy goes into effect Feb. 1, 2006.

“The NCAA policy is one we’re taking seriously because it has potentially important ramifications on athletics at Urbana,” UI spokesman Tom Hardy told the Associated Press on Saturday. “I’m sure this proposed resolution will generate some discussion and debate.”

The text of the resolution refers to the NCAA decision, citing that it was approved three weeks after the Board adopted the first seven guidelines for coming to a consensus.

“I don’t think that anybody reading that item could draw any conclusions about any predeterminded decisions,” said Lex Tate, Associate Director of University Public Affairs. “It is simply another item for the Board to consider in coming to a consensus resolution.”

On June 17, 2004, the Board voted in favor of working toward a consensus resolution, which it said “provides an opportunity to resolve the Chief Illiniwek matter in a manner that is in the very best interest of the University and not of any particular constituency or interest group.”

Thirteen months later, the Board adopted the seven-point guideline it said would provide direction as it worked toward a consensus resolution.

The new Illiniwek resolution was added as a result of conversations among Board members, Tate said. She said Board chair Lawrence Eppley has taken his leadership role very seriously as the Board works toward a consensus.

“He’s been very involved in this issue, taking leadership of this issue, because the issue is in the hands of the Board,” Tate said.

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees is a 13-member council including the governor, nine members nominated by the governor and three student representatives chosen by each of their respective campuses. The Board is to hold its monthly meeting Thursday at the Illini Union.