UPDATE: University official refutes chief’s fate

By Staff Reports

University Spokesman Tom Hardy, in a phone interview this afternoon, claimed reports that Chief Illiniwek is facing his final year of dancing for university sporting events are not completely true.

“I think this report overstates it, I don’t know that there is anything called, the so-called Council of Chiefs. I know that some former chiefs have expressed interest to university leadership in how they might be able to play a role in you know preserving the tradition and heritage of the 80 year old tradition.”

Hardy went on to assure Daily Illini reporters that the Chief would be dancing this weekend at Memorial Stadium and at U of I events until the Board of Trustees makes a proper decision.

Tune in to The Daily Illini On-Air Newscast at 5PM on WPGU 107.1 for more details.

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CHICAGO (AP) Summary – The Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday that the university tentatively plans to drop the controversial American Indian mascot at the end of the upcoming basketball season.

However, a university spokesman said Thursday that no decisions have been made regarding Illiniwek’s future.

“Various possible scenarios have been put forward by everyone from proponents to opponents of the tradition, newspaper columnists and others, but the Board of Trustees continues to work on its consensus conclusion process,” said Tom Hardy, the director of university relations.

According to Thursday’s Sun-Times report, the university has tentative plans to transfer ownership of the Chief to the Council of Chiefs, an alumni group made up of alumni who have portrayed the Chief.

A spokesman for the council, Steve Raquel, confirmed Thursday that his group has been in discussions with university officials and representatives of the Board of Trustees about the Chief’s future, but he said there have been no formal discussions regarding transferring ownership of the Illiniwek name or image and that no decisions have been made.