Unfair tactics

By Stephanie Blue

Chairman Eppley’s announcement that Chief Illiniwek will no longer perform at sporting events is an underhanded maneuver that, in the span of a single day, has torn the student body apart. His decision, made public under the protection of an early-morning meeting time, blatantly deprived students the opportunity to officially voice their own opinions about the Chief controversy in the wake of the NCAA’s most recent letter, dated 15 February. The official news release suggests that the “real” reason for Eppley’s decision was to provide the University with a chance to host post-season athletic events – although we know this action was an attempt to stifle anti- and pro-Chief animosity on campus, and to prove that the University provides a non-hostile environment to students, faculty, and staff of all descents. However, the decision has already broadened the rift between anti- and pro-Chief supporters, seriously fracturing the University’s most valuable infrastructure: its student population. For 81 years, the Chief has represented the traditions that our University, until today, has held dear. He has united students for generations, students who stand as one at athletic events and sing the Alma Mater with a single voice, a tune which for many is synonymous with the Chief himself, representative of our loyalty, honor, and pride toward our school. Now, Chairman Eppley has shunned Chief supporters. Instead of uniting the school by nurturing respect for all races, his hasty announcement has deprived us of our final chance to determine the fate of this University tradition that we most revere and love. Regrettably, Chairman Eppley has failed to create a non-hostile environment. Instead, he has betrayed and estranged Chief supporters on campus by amputating a beloved tradition that represents the heart and soul of the Fighting Illini.

Stephanie Blue

graduate student