UI music education faculty voices concern to those who attended the “Next Dance” event

Faculty members in the University’s Music Education Department sent out an e-mail Tuesday to Music Education majors expressing concern for those who participated in the “Next Dance” event.

The e-mail suggested that students shouldn’t participate in events promoting The Chief because it is “inappropriate for anyone intending to serve as a music educator.”

The e-mail contained a total of six faculty members who voiced their “extreme disappointment” with the event and emphasized that partaking in this event conflicts with commitments to respect people of all backgrounds.

Furthermore, the e-mail encouraged students to talk with the faculty about ways that they can “honor the musical and cultural lives of people.”

It said that events like this are wrong for any one hoping to serve as a music educator, because people in the field of music education have been examining erasure, race and equity in music education. The e-mail acknowledged that students individually have the decision to participate in events.

In an e-mail sent to The Daily Illini from Louis Bergonzi, professor in the Music Education Department, Bergonzi said he does not want to engage in public conversation with the media regarding the e-mail. He said that he is more interested in having face-to-face dialogue with the students.

Bergonzi e-mailed the students, encouraging them to come in and talk about the issue.

No other faculty members from the music education department were able to be reached for comment at press time.

“What was sent out is outrageous. They overstepped their jurisdiction and of course they don’t want this to be a dialog in the press because it will be outright embarrassing to them and the University of Illinois School of Music,” said Ed Jacobi, Illinois alum and father of two music students, in an e-mail. “The issue really isn’t about “The

Chief”; it’s about intimidation of students and it’s wrong.”

Students for Chief Illiniwek sent out a press release saying that the words contradict the nature of the Chief Illiniwek tradition that is being carried on by Students for Chief Illiniwek, the Honor the Chief Society, and the Council of Chiefs. They also said in the e-mail UI faculty is using intimidation to stop students from being pro-Chief.

The e-mail from SFCI said that this is not the first time that UI faculty have used intimidation stop pro-Chief views. It cited that former Illini and SFCI members have received professional and educational threats for their support of the chief from the Departments of Anthropology and Library Sciences.

David Olsen, ISS President said that he hopes this incident increases dialogue about the Chief and the issue at hand.

The full e-mail sent to students by the department can be found online. here.