Chancellor Herman: No Chief reinstatement

By Richard Herman

I want to clarify and add background to a recent announcement by the Registered Student Organization (RSO) “Students for Chief Illiniwek.” The RSO plans to rent the Assembly Hall on November 15 to promote its cause at an event called, “Students for Chief Illiniwek Presents: The Next Dance.”

The campus does not support and is not sponsoring this rally and, as long as the group does not exclude any fellow students from participating, the organization is free to express within the law the beliefs and perspectives of its members.

On February 21, 2007, the University at Urbana-Champaign retired the Chief Illiniwek tradition. The campus also ended the production of Chief merchandise, except through the Collegiate Licensing Company’s “Vault” program, which is used for retired logos.

We will not reinstate the Chief Illiniwek tradition.

However, we will never prevent people from expressing themselves on our campus. The RSO system at the University allows groups of students to create organizations that represent many different viewpoints. While the University will not always condone those views, we will allow students to form a RSO, as long as they meet clear and existing guidelines. Those guidelines include adhering to all federal and state nondiscrimination and equal opportunity laws, orders, and regulations.

All RSOs have certain rights, including the right to reserve/rent certain campus spaces for their events. The Assembly Hall is one of the venues available for such events.

The University works very hard to create an inclusive campus community. Free speech and the ability to express ideas is a core value of this great institution. Without this freedom, students do not have exposure to ideas nor the ability to test the veracity of those ideas.

This is a tradition we will always honor.