Insulting timing

By Charlie J. Johnson

At the risk of adding fuel to an all ready raging inferno, there is one aspect to the Board of Trustees’ decision to remove Chief Illiniwek as the official symbol of the University that has gone without discussion, and that is the board’s deliberate and quite frankly insulting timing. Students awoke on Friday morning (or afternoon) and ambled over to their computers to discover that Chief Illiniwek would be dancing for the final time on Wednesday night, less than a week away. The reason for the University’s haste is obvious. The NCAA has banned the University of Illinois from hosting postseason competitions because of its continued use of Chief Illiniwek as a “hostile and abusive” symbol. Recently, the men’s basketball team has struggled and many suspect will not receive a bid to the NCAA tournament, but rather its less prestigious cousin, the NIT … which the University would now be eligible (sans Chief) to host and thus accrue revenue through ticket sales and concessions.

Rather than give students, faculty, alumni, and fans the world over ample time to say goodbye to a symbol beloved by millions, the University felt compelled to make a quick buck. Rather than giving everyone one last chance to see the “Three-in-One,” the Board of Trustees deemed it acceptable to exclude the literally thousands of students and hundreds of thousands of alumni who happened to not have tickets for Sunday or Wednesday’s game.

My personal feelings on the Chief vary and I find myself to this very minute conflicted about what exactly Chief Illiniwek stood for, but the fact remains. Chief Illiniwek had a long history at UIUC and the Illinois family deserved an appropriate amount of time, and a venue to see him off. Shame on you, Board of Trustees.

Charlie J. Johnson

freshman in LAS