Letter: All things considered

After 16 years, the Trustees have still not resolved the Illiniwek controversy. Perhaps you might ask yourself a few questions that seem to escape our Trustees before making up your mind:

1. Why have so many national church leaders, representing millions of Americans, spoken out against the use of Native Americans as sports mascots? Is the use of Native Americans as sports mascots compatible with your spiritual beliefs and teachings?

2. Why have so many civil rights organizations urged the University to cease using a Native American mascot in its athletic programs? These include the United States Commission on Civil Rights, the NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

3. Why do the UI Trustees remain indifferent to petitions from more than 800 faculty and numerous departments and to the votes of the UIUC Senate to retire Illiniwek and Fighting Illini?

4. Why do the UI Trustees continue to ignore the University’s non-discrimination policies, even after being censured twice by the North Central Association?

5. Who are the UI Trustees listening to? It certainly isn’t Native Americans. Is it past and present governors who urged them not to retire Illiniwek? Those with bumper stickers that proclaim, “The Chief, Today, Tomorrow, Forever,” a direct appropriation of the racist slogan, “Segregation Today, Tomorrow, Forever?” Those who value their halftime sports entertainment more than they value the people it denigrates?

Stephen J. Kaufman

university professor