A view from the real world

By Steven Biel

I’m a 1997 graduate of UI and now work with a public policy organization in Washington, DC.

I have friends and colleagues on Capitol Hill, and following a handful of recent articles in the Washington Post, Illinois’ mascot has become a regular topic at the water cooler.

The perception here is that UI is, at best, backward and insensitive.

At worst, we’re lumped in with the likes of Ole Miss refusing James Meredith or Bob Jones University banning interracial dating.

Some side with those who consider this political correctness run amok, but almost everyone I’ve talked to seems less likely to send their kids to UI as a result of the controversy.

Like anyone else who’s attended UI in the last 20 years, I’ve heard every argument pro- and anti-Chief, but it’s hard to imagine at this point how anyone who really cares about the future of the University of Illinois could really believe that the mascot is good for the school.

Steven Biel

Washington, DC