Students fight for referendum to save Chief

By Matt Spartz

They had seven hours to get the paperwork and 3,000 signatures for a referendum to possibly overturn the Board of Trustees’ decision to retire the Chief last Friday. But that fight was just not feasible according to Paul Schmitt, sophomore in LAS and vice president of Students for Chief Illiniwek.

With the official University massmail being sent to the campus community around 10 a.m., and the deadline to file a referendum being 5 p.m., Schmitt and the group decided to pursue another route in their fight to keep the Chief.

Schmitt and the group presented an appeal to the Student Senate for an extension on their referendum application but did not receive one.

“They claimed we had adequate time, despite that we only had seven hours,” Schmitt said. “And we should have had the foresight to know this (decision) was coming (on the Chief).”

But just because the appeal was turned down, they have not given up.

“We now have the option of appealing to the University’s Moot Court,” Schmitt said, referring to a group made up of University law students that act as a “supreme court” for student government.

And to make sure Students for Chief Illiniwek will be ready once a decision is made on their extension, the group and others have already started the necessary paperwork and collecting signatures.

Schmitt added, “I think the most important fault of the this is how within seven hours is it humanly possible to gather your senses enough to put (a referendum) up?”