Lack of University esteem

By Ilea Knez

Like many other students here at UIUC, early on I learned that there were three questions to have an answer to: “What year are you?,” “What’s your major?,” and “Are you pro- or anti-Chief?” From the first time I saw the Chief, I knew that this University had something special. Similarly to most pro-Chief supporters I have heard speak, I had chills, goosebumps, and an immense sense of unity, belonging, and pride in my school and my fellow students, a feeling that disappeared with the animosity felt now more than ever between the opposing sides. When I heard of the Chief’s pending retirement, my first thought was that this University that I have grown to love and take great pride in was no longer worthy of the esteem I held it in. I also am hovering between whether or not they deserve my money when they do not deserve my respect. For me, the issue is not that they finally made a decision one way or the other. It is the timing, the questionable mercenary motives, and the complete disregard for the majority voice of support from students and alumni, those who truly matter to this school. While my degree still holds value to those outside of the Illini Nation, its value in my heart has been tarnished, and the Board has made me just a bit more cynical.

Those I thought would uphold the voice of the majority and not bend to unfair pressure from the NCAA have failed me. I have now learned that the majority does not in fact always win, and that in truth, the world boils down not to respect and appreciation, but the almighty dollar. Thank you, Board, for completing my education so fully. May the NCAA attack other institutions with the resolve with which they have torn our university apart. Long live the Chief, a true symbol of loyalty and honor.

Ilea Knez

senior in AHS