U-C Senate postpones discussing Chief resolution

By Michael Logli

The Urbana-Champaign Senate postponed a resolution discussing the use of the Chief Illiniwek symbol in future Homecoming parades Monday afternoon. The resolution, written by the Senate Committee on Equal Opportunity, would dissociate the University administration from any and all future Homecoming displays.

Graduate student and senator Gerald Charleston, as well as other senators, said that the resolution was not clear enough on what it was trying to accomplish and what its true purpose was.

“I don’t think it’s in the University’s best interest in separating itself from the Homecoming parade at this point,” Charleston said.

On Oct. 25, Chancellor Richard Herman issued a media advisory notice stating that the University considered Homecoming floats representations of personal expression and were protected by the First Amendment, thus allowing representation of Chief Illiniwek. The resolution said that this instance jeopardized the University’s authority. According to the resolution, the invocation of free speech in this instance does not allow the University to judge other acts that it may have previously condemned.

Nicholas Burbules, head of the Senate Executive Committee, told the senate earlier in the meeting that the committee did not see this resolution in advance to approve it, which usually happens to items up for action. He encouraged senators to vote fairly and with the thoughts of others in mind.

“I have been opposed to the Chief symbol since I got here,” Burbules said. “I believe that those who are opposed to the Chief should be more sensitive to those who are not.”

However, some senators believed that the resolution was not clear in its meaning and actions. The resolution’s idea of dissociation did not clearly specify whether that would mean that Homecoming funding would be cut, if the event could no longer be insured or if it could not be held.

“I think if the Senate Executive Committee had time to look it over, we could make it a lot better,” said Kim Graber, chair of the Senate Committee on Committees.

Many of the Illinois Student Senate’s members spoke out against the resolution and later for postponing it, believing that it would be detrimental to the students.

“We need to ask ourselves how this will affect students and whether they can run Homecoming without UIUC administration support,” said Rob Main, junior in Business and senator.

Orville Vernon Burton, professor of sociology and senator, said he supports the postponement but was concerned by the lack of student support, overall.

“So far no students are in support of this resolution and that bothers me,” he said.