Trustees to vote on two resolutions concerning Chief Illiniwek

By Se Young Lee

University Board of Trustees will discuss and vote on whether to ratify the Feb. 16 decision to end the Chief Illiniwek tradition and challenge the legality of NCAA’s sanctions against the University because of the use of the symbol at the Pine Lounge of Illini Union Tuesday.

The board’s agenda for Tuesday’s meeting includes

two resolutions concerning Chief Illiniwek, added Friday: one that would ratify the Feb. 16 decision and another calling “

Resolution calling for the board’s ratification of the Feb. 16 decision also calls for a “immediate conclusion” of any use of the Chief or related Native American imagery by the University and its athletics program. It also asks the Urbana-Champaign campus administrators to “manage final disposition of these matters” to remain in compliance with the NCAA policy on “hostile and abusive” mascots, nicknames and imagery.

The second resolution calls for the board to join Chief portrayers Dan Maloney and Logan Ponce in the suit asking the courts whether NCAA’s sanctions levied against the University for the Chief Illiniwek symbol “are legal, valid or enforceable.”

The resolutions come after several weeks of controversy following the Feb. 16 decision. Although Chief Illiniwek performed what was likely his final dance Feb. 21, during the final men’s basketball home game, the legitimacy of the action has been under question.

Trustee David Dorris said on Feb. 26 that the Feb. 16 announcement did not constitute an “official action” because a full board vote is required to overturn the 1990 decision by the board to retain the “Chief Illiniwek tradition.” University spokesman Tom Hardy disputed Dorris’ claim, stating that the June 2004 resolution by the board to reach a “consensus resolution” on the Chief constituted a board action.

Dorris also objected to the fact that the Feb. 16 decision seemed to imply that there was a unanimous agreement among the trustees to retire the Chief; he said he would have voted against any resolution to end the Chief tradition.

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, has called for an investigation of possible violations of the Illinois Open Meetings Act in the decisionmaking process leading up to the Feb. 16 decision. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office confirmed that they have received a letter from Brady asking for an investigation on March 2 and are in the process of reviewing it.

The attorney general’s office declined to say whether any action would be taken.